Fallin's Medicaid decision based on politics, says Inman
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Saturday, March 09, 2013
3/09/13 at 6:05 AM
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Oklahoma's political calculus does not work out to an expansion of Medicaid, regardless of the financial or health implications, state House of Representatives Minority Leader Scott Inman told the Tulsa County Democratic Party luncheon Friday.
"(Gov.) Mary Fallin is more afraid of a Tom Coburn or a Randy Brogdon-type candidate running in the next election against her than she is (any Democrat)," Inman said. "I think if we were in her second term, she would have done what the eight Republican governors did who at one point said they were opposed to Medicaid expansion and then flip-flopped.
"Nobody was more opposed to Obamacare than (Arizona's) Jan Brewer. I said at the State Chamber luncheon that if it's good enough for Jan Brewer, it's good enough for Oklahoma.
"I have no doubt in my mind (Fallin's) decision was about politics, not policy."
Inman said the argument that Oklahoma can't afford the roughly $700 million over 10 years for the Medicaid expansion that is part of the Affordable Care Act doesn't add up using either supply-side or standard economics.
In one case, he said, Fallin is saying the state can't afford $700 million but is proposing a $1.4 billion tax cut over the same period of time.
In the second, he said if that $1.4 billion in tax cuts stimulates the economy so, too, should the $8.2 billion in federal money that would flow into the state's health-care systems as a result of expanded Medicaid.
In response to a question, Inman acknowledged some of the state's largest business interests, including the Tulsa Metro Chamber, favor Medicaid expansion. Again, he said, the politics don't favor an all-out push.
"This is pure speculation ... but I think those folks in the chambers - not so much the Tulsa chamber, which has been more vocal than even the Oklahoma City chamber - they're looking at the big picture," he said. "They may not like the governor's decision on Medicaid, but it doesn't affect most of them.
"... I think they're looking at it that 'If we push her too hard and make her do something like that, she could be defeated by a right-winger' and the business community doesn't want that.
"Or, 'If we push too hard, and she still refuses to do it, we open up a Democratic challenger ... .'
"Those two unknowns are something they don't want to play with. And so they've said, 'You know what, we'll put a little pressure on her, but we don't want to push too hard.' "
Original Print Headline: Fallin's Medicaid decision about politics, says Inman
Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365
Rep. Scott Inman: "Mary Fallin is more afraid of a Tom Coburn or Randy Brogdon-type candidate running in the next election against her ... ."