Oklahoma: 111,000 dirt-poor people kicked off of Medicaid to keep Capital One happy.
In Michigan, 15,000 children and pregnant women poisoned by lead and other toxic chemicals in their water supply from penny-pinching austerity measures by Republican Governor Rick Snyder and his GOP colleagues in the state legislature are finally being enrolled in Medicaid. So, you know, yay.
In Oklahoma, meanwhile, 111,000 dirt-poor adults (mostly women) are being kicked to the curb thanks to...penny-pinching austerity measures by Republican Governor Mary Fallin and her GOP colleagues in the state legislature:
Just how grim the state’s budget situation has become was apparent Wednesday morning as the state House of Representatives discussed and ultimately agreed to a bill that would cut 111,000 Oklahomans, most of them women, from Medicaid.
House Bill 2665, by Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, instructs the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which administers the state’s Medicaid program, to request a federal waiver that would allow it to exclude all able-bodied adults younger than 65.
Currently, Cox said, about 111,000 single, non-disabled parents earning less than $9,500 are covered by SoonerCare, Oklahoma’s version of Medicaid. Cox said 77,000 of those are women.
For the record, $9,500/year breaks down to $792 per month, or $183 per week. The Federal Poverty Level for a single adult is $228 per week.
Such a move would save the state an estimated $130 million a year, according to the bill’s fiscal impact statement, but cost $203 million in federal matching funds. Cutting those recipients without the waiver would endanger Oklahoma’s entire Medicaid program and $3 billion a year in federal funds.
Hmmm...if only there were some way of preserving those federal funds and potentially even expanding the program...
Democrats countered that the loss of $200 million in federal funding and the higher rates of uncompensated care are likely to close some hospitals, and questioned why Cox’s bill was the first addressing the state’s budget situation to reach the House floor.
They also wanted to know why the Republican-controlled state government had declined a Medicaid expansion offered by the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” a provision that was intended to address such situations.
Yes, that is a good question. As for why the state is in such a "grim situation" budget-wise?
Democrats Eric Proctor of Tulsa and Mike Brown of Tahlequah questioned the morality of cutting Medicaid without addressing business incentives.
“The choice is not really about whether we help (one person) or someone else,” Proctor said. “It’s about whether we help Capitol One or some other corporation or the poorest people in the state.”
Silly Democrat, these are Republicans we're talking about, so I'm guessing that was a rhetorical question.
UPDATE: As Rebecca Vallas notes, this isn't necessarily a done deal:
@charles_gaba @yrubored good news is the bill just directs state Medicaid agency to request waiver to cut folks off... hopefully gets denied
— Rebecca Vallas (@rebeccavallas) March 3, 2016