Existing waivers not likely survive past 2014 implementation of federal system
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/21/2013 -- It appears a plan is currently in development by the Health Secretary, Terry Cline, for a state health care system. The plan has, thus far, no release date, but it would be at least in part, the state's reaction to the Obama administration’s “Affordable Care Act”, which is more commonly known as Obamacare. The state option would rely on the permission from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to use federal health-care funding in ways it deems fit.
Unlike the federal plan, which centers around the solving of people paying for the treatment, the Oklahoma plan would take a holistic approach. By that is meant that it would look at ways of restructuring how the health system operates, and how patients and potential patients behave.
According to Cline, "[There] are several different tools that you can use to actually improve health," Cline said. "The question would be: How do you actually prioritize and strategically reach those objectives and goals?"
A linchpin in the plan would be that the Medicaid waiver, and permission from the federal officials to use the funding in a new ways.
Waivers are a commonly utilized item in the state Medicaid programs. So much so that the common joke amongst the state's bureaucrats is "When you've seen one state Medicaid system, you've seen one Medicaid system.” However, the Affordable Care Act comes with pages of additional congressional mandates that will be applied to how federal money can be spent or otherwise allocated.
Cline has stated that he is not ready to rule out ideas at this point in the game.
"Some people are under the misconception that now, all of sudden, every state is going to look alike," Cline said. "That's not true."
There is sufficient evidence that Oklahoma's largest Medicaid waiver, the Insure Oklahoma program, will not live to see 2014's widespread implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The waiver uses federal Medicaid funding, as well as state tobacco tax revenue, and contributions from smaller employers to fund the private insurance for low-income persons. The federal officials have now made it clear that they will not have the intention of continuing these sorts of waivers once the federal act goes into effect in 2014.
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