Friday, December 22, 2017
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today signed two measures that provide additional funding for health services.
Senate Bill (SB) 1XX appropriates $17.7 million to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) to prevent provider rate cuts. SB 2XX provides $26.5 million in additional funding for the Department of Human Services (DHS) to make up a portion of the agency’s funding struck down by the courts. The funds will come from an increase in gross production taxes on legacy wells.
“I appreciate the bipartisan and quick support of the Legislature in approving these two measures,” said Fallin. “Senate Bill 1XX prevents provider rates from being cut next month. This will help ensure Oklahomans have access to doctors and other health care providers through at least the spring.
“Senate Bill 2XX enables DHS to continue funding for programs that help vulnerable residents live at home instead of institutional settings, such as the Medicaid ADvantage Waiver program.”
The funding authorized in both measures ensures the OHCA and DHS have enough funding through April.
Fallin called legislators back for a second special session, which began Monday. She asked lawmakers to first address the OHCA and DHS funding issues because of looming deadlines.
The governor will amend her call for the current special session and ask lawmakers to return next month to approve long-term funding issues.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court earlier this year struck down a smoking cessation fee resulting in $215 million in lost funding for DHS, OHCA, and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS). While the OHCA and DHS needed additional funds quickly, ODMHSAS has enough funding to make it through the end of April.
Fallin called a first special session in September to address the $215 million funding loss and other issues. She vetoed most of the budget bill approved by lawmakers in the first session because it didn’t provide a long-term solution to the re-occurring budget deficits, but kept some funding intact that reduced the budget hole for the current fiscal year to $110 million.
Fallin said she will be working with legislators to fund these three health care agencies through the end of the fiscal year, June 30, as well as a long-term solution to the budget.
“I’m optimistic we can reach a long-term, predictable solution to fix our budget problems,” Fallin said. “I’ll also continue to push in the days ahead for a pay raise for teachers and state employees.”