The Oklahoma Senate approved a plan Monday to lower the income cutoff for adults to receive SoonerCare benefits, a move that would see 43,000 people lose coverage.
Sen. John Sparks asked Senate Bill 1030 author Senator Josh Brecheen whether he thought Oklahomans were working just long enough to stash away some money before quitting to claim Medicaid benefits.
"You can accrue assets, you can own a home and you can have other assets I’m not mentioning. I’m not saying that’s the case in all instances," Brecheen said. "I don’t want to apply that, but I’m saying that Medicaid eligibility is income-based."
SB1030 lowers the income cutoff for parents and caregivers from 41 percent of the federal poverty level to 20 percent. Sen. Kay Floyd told Brecheen that’s not a lot of money, considering many of those who would lose SoonerCare coverage are caring for disabled kids.
"So, that’s a single mother with one child would not be able to make over $275, is that correct?" Floyd said.
"I will take your word for it," Brecheen said.
The eligibility change would save the state around $84 million a year. Sen. AJ Griffin pointed out that’s less than $1,000 in state spending per current enrollee.
"Of the women, which was the bulk of the population, one trip to the gynecologist chews up their allotted apportionment," Griffin said.
Two-thirds of the adults who would lose coverage are women. Brecheen said the savings could be spent on education.
The measure passed 25–17 and now goes to the House.