In The Know: Oklahoma’s Medicaid agency needs $150 million in new funds

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 the state’s Medicaid program will need nearly $150 million in new funds just to continue providing current services. Insurance companies will not sell earthquake coverage to Oklahoma homeowners for 30 to 60 days after a quake due to the likelihood of aftershocks in the area. The Duncan Banner examined how OK Policy’s CountySTATS 2013 fact sheets provide a snapshot to compare counties across Oklahoma. You can view all of the fact sheets here.

The Tulsa Mental Health Association is expanding statewide and launching a new push to reduce suicides in Oklahoma. Purcell Public Schools principals voiced more complaints about Oklahoma’s A-F grading system for schools, which they said is arbitrarily shifting benchmarks and delaying the release of data that they need to improve. Tax specialist Michelle Cantrell wrote in the Tulsa World about Oklahoma’s increasingly complex legal struggles as it tries to deny the reality of same-sex marriages.

The Number of the Day is how many people voted in a bond election over almost $1 million in school improvements for Crutcho Public Schools. In today’s Policy Note, Ezra Klein puts complaints about how the Affordable Care Act is changing health insurance into context of the complete disaster that is the status quo.

In The News

Oklahoma’s Medicaid agency needs $150 million in new funds

The agency that operates the state’s Medicaid program will need nearly $150 million in new funds just to continue providing current services due to federal funding cuts and a growing number of people who qualify for coverage, officials said Thursday. More than half of the approximately 825,000 people covered under the state’s Medicaid program are children, and most of the rest are pregnant women and disabled adults.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Insurance coverage not available immediately following earthquake

Central Oklahoma homeowners whose houses shook from recent earthquakes may be surprised to learn they’ll have to wait a month or two if they want to buy earthquake insurance. A 30- to 60-day lockout period, due to the likelihood of aftershocks in the area, is just one of many details Oklahoma residents should be aware of when shopping for earthquake insurance. Higher deductibles also might give some pause. Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak put out an alert last month advising homeowners to look into earthquake insurance.

Read more from NewsOK.

Numerical snapshot shows how counties compare

Today’s message, brought to you from the Oklahoma Policy Institute, focuses more on numbers than words and outlines how we compare with other counties in Oklahoma. The snapshot of how we rank among other counties is an interesting one. Formed in 2008 as a non-profit organization based in Tulsa, the institute is an independent think tank that provides timely and credible information, analysis and ideas. Its annual statistical research provides comparative data on health, education and the economy for all 77 Oklahoma counties. –

Read more from the Duncan Banner.

See also: CountySTATS 2013 from Oklahoma Policy Institute

With hundreds of suicides each year, new offensives underway to reduce the toll

Oklahoma has a suicide rate that is higher than the national average and was 12th highest among all states and the District of Columbia in 2010, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both Oklahoma’s and the nation’s rates are increasing. The state’s suicide rate rose by 13 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to the CDC. And now, partly because of a rise in suicides among baby boomers, suicide is one of the leading causes of death among nearly all age groups. In 2010, more than 600 people committed suicide in the state.

Read more from Oklahoma Watch.

Purcell principals: A-F no measure of district’s successes

Purcell Public Schools’ four principals and superintendent voiced frustration with the State Department of Education over new letter grades assigned to their schools by state superintendent Janet Barresi’s staff. Discussion of the district’s state-issued A-F report cards took up the bulk of time at Monday’s school board meeting. While the grades appear good on the surface, it’s the arbitrary shifting benchmarks at the state level that have the educators concerned.

Read more from the Purcell Register.

Michelle Cantrell: Oklahoma faces tax issues involving same sex marriage

Oklahoma, like several other states, prohibits both same-sex marriage and recognition of any of the consequences of that marriage. But now that the federal government, multiple states, and several Native American tribes recognize the legal results of same-sex marriage, Oklahoma will find itself grappling in increasingly complex legal struggles as it tries to deny the reality of same-sex marriages.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Quote of the Day

According to the tax commission’s decision, same-sex couples who are deemed married under federal law cannot file using a married status; instead, they must create a phony federal return that uses a single status designation, and file that with their Oklahoma tax return. In essence, the tax commission is requiring a taxpayer to submit a false federal document with their state return, an act that is normally considered a crime.

-Michelle Cantrell, a tax specialist residing in Tulsa (Source:

Number of the Day


Number of people who voted in a bond election over almost $1 million in school improvements for Crutcho Public Schools.

Source: Oklahoma County Election Board via NewsOK

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Change is painful. But the health care status quo is a complete disaster.

As often happens, the prospect of reform has led to a sudden eruption of affection for the health-care status quo. The airwaves are alive with impassioned protests against the idea that anyone might change a market that relies on discriminating against the old, the sick, the female, and people who don’t read the fine print of insurance policies. This is the best health care in the world, you know. The Commonwealth Fund’s latest survey of international health systems stands as a refreshing reality check.

Read more from Wonkblog.

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.