It is great news for Oklahoma that state officials have come up with a plan to accept federal dollars and expand health coverage to more than 100,000 uninsured Oklahomans. Under this plan, Oklahoma can finally bring these federal tax dollars back into our state, improve our health, and reduce the burden of uncompensated care that threatens many hospitals, community health centers, and other health care providers.
While this is a great first step, the details of the plan should be examined carefully. We must ensure that those who enroll in the program have access to affordable and comprehensive health care. We must also make it our highest priority to avert huge cuts to health services and provider rates proposed by the Health Care Authority, Mental Health Department, and other agencies to cope with the state’s budget crisis. These cuts threaten to decimate our health care system and to deprive hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans of needed care. A well-designed plan to accept federal funds will be a key piece to preventing this disaster.