Constituencies Bend Governor's Ear on Health Care

Nov 12, 2012

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Looming decisions for Governor Mary Fallin on how Oklahoma will respond to the federal health care law are prompting an energetic, behind-the-scenes lobbying effort by hospitals, insurance companies, and other stakeholders.

Fallin is expected to announce within the next week her position on whether the state will move ahead with setting up a state-based online health insurance marketplace required under the sweeping law, or allow the federal government to set one up for the state. Oklahoma policymakers also must decide whether the state will expand its Medicaid eligibility to provide coverage to thousands of low-income, uninsured citizens.

The Republican governor has yet to stake out a position on either proposal and faces a delicate political balancing act in a state where Republicans have bitterly resisted the requirements of the federal health care law.