Thursday, April 14, 2011

REVERSAL: Fallin Now Says 'No' To $54 Million

Governor Fallin today reversed her position on accepting $54 million in federal funds tied to Obamacare.

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) applauded Fallin’s decision, disclosed during a media availability today, to reject the $54 million federal grant awarded to the state to begin implementing health insurance exchanges as required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“Today Gov. Fallin and our state leaders stood on their campaign promises to protect the people of Oklahoma from the rigid, one-size-fits-all approach of Obamacare,” said Jason Sutton, J.D., health policy analyst for OCPA.

“Oklahoma needs patient-centered health reforms that meet our state’s unique needs. A health insurance exchange could be a useful tool in creating an insurance market based on choice and competition; unfortunately, using the federal grant to build our exchange would handcuff our state to Obamacare. Rejecting those funds is the best decision for Oklahoma.”

“The best way to protect Oklahoma from Obamacare is to not implement Obamacare,” said Michael Carnuccio, OCPA president. “Today, Gov. Fallin and legislative leaders showed that they are willing to put the citizens of Oklahoma above bureaucrats and do what is right for our state. Gov. Fallin has demonstrated the type of true conservative leadership our state and nation need.”

Fallin's reversal prompted critical comments from House Democratic leader Scott Inman.

Said Inman: “Just two weeks ago, Governor Fallin defended her decision to accept $54 million from the federal government to implement the state health exchange by arguing that the money was not tied to President Obama’s healthcare plan, and that the state could not afford to do it on our own. Now, just days later, Governor Fallin admits that the funding is in fact a part of Pres. Obama’s healthcare plan and that somehow despite our $500 million shortfall, we can afford to do it without these funds. The question I have is: Was Governor Fallin wrong then, or is she wrong now?”

Insurance Commissioner John Doak, following Fallin's announcement, said he is returning a $1 million grant tied to planning for Obamacare.

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