Lawmakers Send Stitt Bills Funding His Medicaid Expansion Plan

May 15, 2020

Credit Oklahoma Watch

The Oklahoma legislature passed bills this week funding Gov. Kevin Stitt’s SoonerCare 2.0 proposal.

Senate Bill 1046 is the main piece. It adds 1.7% to a fee assessed on hospitals’ net patient revenue. That would generate more than $130 million a year of the state's roughly $160 million share to pay for Medicaid expansion.

Rep. Marcus McEntire (R-Duncan) responded to a question of whether charging hospitals more will drive up health care costs by saying they’re already required to provide free care to thousands of uninsured patients.

"And we’re paying for them now in uncompensated care. I think this ends up being a wash and probably better off financially for the hospitals, and I would hope that premiums would actually decrease because of the uncompensated care being taken care of," McEntire said.

SB1046 would only fund Stitt’s plan, which will implement restrictions like work requirements and  transition to a capped-funding model through the new Healthy Adult Opportunity program next year, not traditional expansion through State Question 802.

"But I will say, the funding mechanism that’s here would work for 802. The cost is relatively the same — it could be a little bit chearper with the HAO waiver on the SoonercCare 2.0 — but for the expasnion portion of that, the funding holds for both plans," McEntire said.

Another bill takes the rest of the state’s portion for Medicaid expansion from the revenue stabilization fund. Oklahoma Watch reports Stitt has not looked at the Medicaid funding bills and has not committed to signing them.