Federal health law would pay for state's inmate medical bills
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Thursday, October 18, 2012
OKLAHOMA CITY — Practically all of Oklahoma’s costs for hospitalizing prison inmates would get picked up by the federal government if the state accepts funding under the Affordable Care Act, a Department of Corrections analysis shows.
In fiscal year 2012, the state prison system spent $13 million on hospital bills for inmates, said DOC spokesman Jerry Massie.
Under the federal law, practically all of those costs would be picked up by Medicaid starting in 2014, Massie said.
There’s one catch, however: The state would have to accept the federal government’s money.
When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law, it struck one provision that mandated every state accept an expansion of its Medicaid program to cover households up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.
The decision essentially made the Medicaid expansion optional. Several states, including Texas, have announced they aren’t interested in cooperating with the federal program, but Oklahoma has not made a decision.
Gov. Mary Fallin, who has called the Affordable Care Act unworkable and unaffordable, has delayed making a choice on the Medicaid expansion until after November’s presidential election.
Read the rest of the story in Friday's Tulsa World.