Child Welfare in the 21st Century

  • September 2012
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Good business sense!

Posted by lboyd544 on September 3, 2012

This is the first of several entries I will make over the next few weeks making a case for Oklahoma (and other states) to expand their Medicaid programs as per the opportunities under the Affordable Care Act.

For Oklahoma, it is simply good business sense! As I noted in an earlier blog, we have done so well to weather the economic recession of the past few years and to continue with very low unemployment numbers! Yet, our physical and mental health needs and services for our state’s citizens rank us among the very worst and most needy of all states.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority, our Medicaid administering agency, estimates that if Oklahoma expands Medicaid to the 133% of poverty for adults, we would actually save $47M annually in annual costs such as mental health services (for which we must currently use 100% state dollars), uncompensated hospital care, and other public health services.

Expanding Oklahoma Medicaid to this uncovered population would cost us NOTHING for the first 3 years; the federal government picks up 100% of the cost. In 2017, 2018, and 2019 the matching rate drops to 95%, 94%, and 93% until leveling off ‘permanently’ at 90% in 2020.  In 2020 that 10% cost to Oklahoma taxpayers is estimated to total $47M.  That is the EXACT amount of savings to taxpayers by getting financial help from the feds for various current expenses such as those mentioned above! And that savings would begin with implementation of the expansion in 2014.

Do the math. That also means that until 2020 we actually bring in NEW money to our state – through cost-savings while the feds are picking up 100-93% of the costs of expansion.

In future blogs, I will focus on various segments of the population who benefit from expansion, but for now let’s be clear that we all benefit, including the business community and every taxpayer, if we simply follow the math and the money! 

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