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All articles by Courtney Cullison

In The Know: Federal health law aside, state looks to roll back coverage

by | March 20th, 2017 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Check out OK Policy’s resources for the Legislative session, including the Legislative Primer and Online Budget Guide.

Today In The News

Federal Health Law Aside, State Looks to Roll Back Coverage: Almost all eyes are on Washington as President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans try to reverse, and then replace, the Affordable Care Act. Amid the national uncertainty, state policymakers also are exploring moves that could affect health care for hundreds of thousands of people across Oklahoma, by loosening what types of coverage insurers are required to provide. [Oklahoma Watch]

Budget scenario means closed offices, fewer services says OPEA: Implementation of another budget cut in Fiscal Year 2018 would force state agencies like the Department of Human Services, Department of Mental Health and the State Department of Health to close local offices across Oklahoma and would cripple core services, according to the Oklahoma Public Employees Association (OPEA). “The only way for some agencies to make significant reductions is to close offices and turn out the lights,” said OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley. [Edmond Sun]

Oklahoma should increase its cigarette tax, for kids and health: Oklahoma lawmakers have an exceptional opportunity to improve the state’s health and economy by supporting House Bill 1841, which would increase the state cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack. This critical action will prevent kids from smoking, prompt smokers to quit and reduce medical expenses associated with smoking, saving the state hundreds of millions of dollars. [Matthew Myers/ NewsOK]  Though the cigarette tax is regressive, increasing it could be a net benefit to low- and moderate-income Oklahomans [OK Policy].

continue reading In The Know: Federal health law aside, state looks to roll back coverage

The Weekly Wonk: Lawmakers found guilty of supplanting lottery funds for schools, how proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act could affect Oklahoma, and more

by | March 19th, 2017 | Posted in Blog, Weekly Wonk | Comments (0)

the_weekly_wonk_logoWhat’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk shares our most recent publications and other resources to help you stay informed about Oklahoma. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

This Week from OK Policy

On the OK Policy blog, Executive Director David Blatt reported that lawmakers were found guilty of supplanting lottery funds for schools for the first time and explained the lawmakers will now need to allocate an additional $10.1 million to the Education Lottery Trust Fund to replace the supplanted money. Blatt pointed out the dire consequences facing Oklahoma if the legislature chooses to close the state budget gap with draconian cuts instead of new revenues in his Journal Record column. Policy Analyst Carly Putnam argued that HB 1270 is unnecessary legislation that would punish poor families and add greatly to the cost of state administration in a blog post, and discussed how the new plan from the House GOP to replace the Affordable Care Act could affect Oklahomans’ health care in a new episode of the OK PolicyCast.

In a guest post, planning director for the Yale National Initiative at the University of Tulsa Elizabeth Smith suggested that it may be time to look at lawsuits as a way to address Oklahoma’s school funding crisis. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update argued at that the legislature’s timid approach to enacting teacher pay raises doesn’t bode well for schools.

OK Policy in the News

Blatt was interviewed by Public Radio Tulsa for a story about the strong hit President Trump’s proposed federal budget would have on Oklahoma. The Woodward News cited OK Policy data in an article discussing the revenue options that could close the state’s $878 million budget gap. OK Policy data on the cost of state tax credits for the wind industry compared to the oil and gas industry was cited in a Letter to the Editor of The Oklahoman.

continue reading The Weekly Wonk: Lawmakers found guilty of supplanting lottery funds for schools, how proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act could affect Oklahoma, and more