In The Know: Governor’s consultant advises, ‘accept federal Medicaid money’

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

Today you should know that a consulting firm hired by Governor Fallin advised the state to accept federal money to expand Medicaid through Insure Oklahoma.  The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s decision to deny Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.’s quest for an injunction against part of the Affordable Care Act.

The State Regents approved significant tuition and fee increases for Langston University and the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.  A judge refused requests for dismissal and ordered separate trials for former state Rep. Randy Terrill and former state Sen. Debbe Leftwich.

For the third consecutive fiscal year, adult education centers across the state that provide GED classes and basic literacy instruction have been wholly defunded by the state, putting federal matching funds at risk.  Citizens, teachers, and students who attended a recent State Department of Education meeting say they were not allowed to submit public comments according to normal procedure.

The Number of the Day is the amount of money the state allocated for GED-prep, basic math and literacy, and ESL classes at adult education centers for FY 2014.  In today’s policy note, the Annie E. Casey Foundation published their annual KIDS COUNT report for 2013, examining national changes in the status of children with a complex picture of child well-being in every state.

In The News

Leavitt or leave it: Health care consultants recommend ways for Oklahoma to cover more uninsured residents
Oklahoma’s Republican leadership has repeatedly voiced that the state will not expand its Medicaid program, a key provision of the Affordable Care Act. Health care experts Thursday recommended that the state take millions of dollars it would have received for Medicaid expansion and use the funds to expand Insure Oklahoma, an established health care program. “This approach is using the enhanced federal funds, but we believe it is beneficial to Oklahoma because it does it in a way that allows Oklahoma to target and develop a program to meet the specific needs of its population, as well as the objectives of the state,” said Laura Summers, director of state intelligence at Leavitt Partners.

Read more from NewsOK

Hobby Lobby wins partial victory from appeals court in health care challenge
A federal appeals court in Denver sided with Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. on Thursday in its legal battle against part of the Affordable Care Act. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals moved to reverse a lower court’s decision to deny Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.’s quest for an injunction against part of the Affordable Care Act that requires it to cover the cost of emergency contraceptives for some of its employees.

Read more from NewsOK

Oklahoma regents approve tuition and fee increases
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved a round of tuition and fee increases at state colleges and universities at a meeting Thursday. Langston undergraduate students will see the largest increase in tuition and mandatory fees, with a price hike of nearly $393 for 30 credit hours. That represents a 9.1 percent increase over the previous fiscal year. That increase is driven by a $240, or 19.1 percent, uptick in mandatory fees over last year. According to Langston’s budget proposal, that increase includes two new fees: a career services fee and a counseling fee. Both fees come to $60 for students carrying 30 credit hours.

Read more from NewsOK

Separate trials ordered for former Oklahoma lawmakers
A judge Thursday ordered separate jury trials for two former legislators in their 2010 bribery case. The trial for former state Rep. Randy Terrill is scheduled for Oct. 21. The trial for former state Sen. Debbe Leftwich is scheduled for Dec. 9. Prosecutors allege Terrill, a Republican, offered Leftwich, a Democrat, an $80,000-a-year state job in return for not seeking re-election in 2010. Both were in the Legislature at the time. At a hearing Thursday, Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong refused defense requests to dismiss the case.

Read more from NewsOK

Fresh out of bootstraps: Oklahoma de-funds adult education
Oklahoma’s adult education centers have historically offered low or no-cost GED prep courses, basic math and literacy instruction, and English as a second language (ESL) classes in every county in the state. But for two – going on three – consecutive fiscal years, adult education in Oklahoma has been wholly defunded by the state – falling from a few million dollars in state appropriations for most of the last ten years, to $0 in FY 2012 and FY 2013. Since these centers also receive a federal funding match, they were able to keep their doors open initially. Yet for many smaller and more rural counties, the loss of state funding and the slow wane of their federal match has put their adult ed operations in jeopardy.

Read more from the OKPolicy Blog

State education board denies public comment on several issues
Officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Education turned away everyone who wanted to give public comments at Thursday’s state board of education meeting. Leaders of the Oklahoma Education Association and a watchdog group Restore Oklahoma Public Education, or ROPE, said they were told they could not address the board because their concerns were not related to items on the meeting agenda, while an Oklahoma City student whose appeal of a denied diploma was on the agenda was told she couldn’t speak because she had a “pending grievance.”

Read more from Tulsa World

Quote of the Day

“Oklahoma hospitals have had a long-standing interest in decreasing the number of uninsured in Oklahoma, toward a goal of ‘coverage for all, paid for by all.’ We all know that care of the uninsured is currently paid for by everyone who pays their hospital bill or has insurance.”

Craig Jones, President of the Oklahoma Hospital Association, on accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma

Number of the Day


The amount of money the state allocated for GED prep, basic math and literacy, and ESL classes at adult education centers for FY 2014

Source: Oklahoma Policy Institute

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

KIDS COUNT: State Trends in Child Well-Being
With the national economy now out of crisis, we have an opportunity to refocus our attention on improving outcomes for the next generation. Today’s children literally represent our future — as tomorrow’s leaders, citizens, workers and the next generation of parents — and it is imperative that we attend to their well-being in the present. Research shows that smart investments in the early years of childhood can increase the odds of success for all children, especially our nation’s most disadvantaged.

Read more from Annie E. Casey Foundation

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