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Proposed Medicaid Cuts Threaten Oklahoma Nursing Home Residents

  • March 28th, 2003

To close a $5 million budget gap, Oklahoma officials are proposing changes in Medicaid eligibility rules that would leave 100,000 state residents without health care, including many nursing home residents, according to an article in The Oklahoman. The changes are the sort of Medicaid cuts that many other states may be forced to make because of budget shortfalls.

The state is hoping to save an estimated $500,000 by changing the Medicaid eligibility threshold for 9,800 Oklahomans who are aged, blind or disabled from the federal poverty level of $8,980 of annual income for a single person to the state supplemental income standard of $6,624 a year. Meanwhile, another several million dollars would be saved by reducing eligibility for those in nursing homes from the current 300 percent of the federal poverty level to the federal minimum. This would mean that nursing home residents could not have more than $552 to $828 in monthly income to qualify for Medicaid coverage.

Families of residents with incomes higher than the new threshold would have the option of paying the monthly bill or taking the resident home. Others would be referred to the state's elderly protection unit.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority proposed the cuts after the Office of State Finance announced another round of statewide budget cuts that would result in a loss of $5 million in state funds and $12 million in federal funding for the Authority. Mike Fogerty, the Authority's director, said the agency has little choice and no other place to cut its budget. Coverage for children, pregnant women and infants would also be drastically reduced.

"This means real pain for real people," said Patti Davis, executive vice president for the Oklahoma Hospital Association.

For the full article in The Oklahoman , click here. (Article may be only temporarily available.)

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Last Modified: 03/28/2003

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