2020 OPEN ENROLLMENT ENDS (most states)

Time: D H M S

Ooooooklahoma...where Medicaid expansion might come sweeping down the plain...

Huh. As Joan Alker of the Center for Children and Families at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute just put it, here's one I wasn't expecting:

Bill expanding ‘Insure Oklahoma’ program passes Senate committee

A Senate bill seeking to expand the Insure Oklahoma program has advanced out of committee Monday morning.

Senate Bill 605, authored by Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada, directs the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority to implement "the Oklahoma Plan" within Insure Oklahoma. An agency spokesperson said the program provides premium assistance to low-income working adults employed by small businesses.

The latest numbers from Insure Oklahoma show less than 19,000 are enrolled.

According to McCortney, the intent of his bill is to provide insurance for Oklahomans who would qualify for Medicaid in states which opted to expand but are currently not insured.

"If they have private insurance, we’ll have 200,000 people who now can go to the doctor instead of go to the emergency to get free care. They’re going to be going to the doctor’s office getting the care they need when they need it instead of waiting for an emergency room visit," McCortney told News 4. "The Oklahoma Plan, what it is, is being able to use private insurance to take care of and manage the healthcare costs for our population so, instead of asking the state agency to do that, and state agencies traditionally don’t do that, well, we’re going to go out to the private market and let private companies do that."

The proposed measure unanimously passed the Senate Retirement and Insurance committee by a 9 to 0 vote, though it did not come without questions.

From the description above, it sounds like this would be along the lines of Arkansas' "Private Option" waiver, which uses (used? I'm not sure of its status) ACA Medicaid expansion funding to instead pay the premiums & deductibles to enroll eligible people into private ACA policies. In this sense it's not too different from heavily-subsidized ACA exchange policies, except the money is coming from the Medicaid bucket instead of APTC/CSR subsidies.

Not ideal by any means, but better than nothing, I suppose...Stay tuned...