Governor Fallin: Use Tobacco Funds for Health Care

May 18, 2013

Mary Fallin
Credit State of Oklahoma-File photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Governor Mary Fallin is proposing a last-minute legislative change to the state's Insure Oklahoma program that would direct $50 million in state tobacco taxes to pay for more than 9,000 Oklahomans who are expected to lose their health insurance under the program.

Fallin released a statement Friday urging lawmakers to redirect the $50 million so the Insure Oklahoma could continue to operate as a "smaller, more targeted program run with state dollars only."

The federal government notified Oklahoma it would no longer provide Medicaid funding to operate Insure Oklahoma, which provides health insurance to about 30,000 low-income workers in the state. The federal government's decision came after Fallin rejected an opportunity to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma and provide health insurance coverage to nearly 200,000 uninsured residents.