Oklahoma health care providers are urging state lawmakers to raise the state tax on cigarettes by $1.50 a pack to help pay health care costs.
Members of the Oklahoma Hospital Association gathered at the State Capitol Tuesday to discuss the need for new revenue to help state health care providers.
Officials say that without a cigarette tax increase, Oklahoma may have to cut the reimbursement rate for services provided to Medicaid patients by 25 percent. The could force more than a dozen hospitals in the state and nine out of 10 nursing homes to close.
A $1.50 increase in the cigarette tax would more than double the state tax, from $1.03 a pack to more than $2.50. Gov. Mary Fallin says it would raise almost $258 million for health care.