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Today In The News
Government shutdown could cut off food stamps: A government shutdown Oct. 1 could immediately suspend or delay food stamp payments to some of the 46 million Americans who receive the food aid. The Agriculture Department said Tuesday that it will stop providing benefits at the beginning of October if Congress does not pass legislation to keep government agencies open [NewsOK].
State explores privatizing care for aged and disabled: At the insistence of state lawmakers, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority is exploring cost-saving options that could lead to partial privatization of the state’s $2.4 billion Medicaid program for aged, blind and disabled people. The state tried that once before, and it didn’t work out. Costs escalated, companies dropped out, and the state pulled the plug. Supporters of the new effort predicted it might turn out better because of improvements in managed-care practices [Oklahoma Watch]. Oklahoma’s current Medicaid program already has lower per-patient costs than 11 out 12 states with a high percentage of Medicaid patients in managed care [OK Policy].
Oklahoma City school district suspends fewer students: Seven weeks into the school year, Oklahoma City Public Schools suspended 42.5 percent fewer students than it did over the same period last year. The declining number of suspensions comes as the district seeks to confront a discipline problem that prompted an investigation by the U.S. Education Department [NewsOK]. Some teachers and school staff are complaining that the district’s reluctance to issue suspensions leaves them unable to control student behavior [NewsOK].
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