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February 28, 2013

Fallin says no plan to revisit Medicaid rejection

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY —

“We want to be able to tailor our own health system, understanding that we’ve got to comply with federal law, but to do it in a way that we think is in the best interest of Oklahoma and our budget constraints,” Fallin said.
Meanwhile, the governor said she will ask lawmakers to consider boosting the budget for the Health Care Authority to pay for an anticipated increase in the number of Medicaid-eligible Oklahoma residents who are not currently enrolled in the system. She said she also will endorse a plan to encourage Oklahomans to create healthier communities, schools and workplaces and address preventable illnesses connected to smoking, obesity and lack of exercise.
“Studies have shown that 70 percent of the illnesses in America are caused by our own health habits and lifestyle habits,” said Fallin, who last year banned smoking on state property and pushed for the construction of a fitness center in the basement of the state Capitol.
Senate Democratic Leader Sean Burrage, who has criticized Fallin’s rejection of the Medicaid expansion, said he’s willing to listen to Fallin’s proposals for improving the health of Oklahoma residents, but remains convinced the Medicaid expansion is an opportunity the state shouldn’t pass up.
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Burrage, D-Claremore, who has introduced a bill to expand Medicaid coverage in Oklahoma. “It gives financial security to low-income, working adults, because when you’re out there uninsured, you’re very vulnerable. You’re one health crisis away from bankruptcy.”

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