| November 4, 2013

If you like your Insure Oklahoma, you can keep your Insure Oklahoma

Over and over again, President Barack Obama said “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan.” President Obama also repeatedly said, “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” We are now seeing those statements were lies, meant to deceive people into going along with Obamacare. Nationwide, millions of people will eventually lose the adequate health care plans they liked, and already thousands are losing them here in Oklahoma. And this is only the beginning.

The Obama administration has already rejected Insure Oklahoma at least once, and has forced less-than-desirable changes in order for Oklahoma to gain a one-year extension of the program. As OCPA distinguished fellow Andrew Spiropoulos aptly analyzed:

So why have the feds given us a reprieve? The administration perceives an opportunity to use our state’s leaders’ support of Insure Oklahoma as a wedge to break Oklahoma’s resistance to the expansion of Medicaid. …What’s the president’s plan? It’s very clever. He will offer to allow us to take all or part of the Medicaid expansion money and use it to expand Insure Oklahoma. The pitch is that we can keep our plan and get the money, too. However, here’s the truth — if we take the deal, it won’t be our plan any longer.

Meanwhile, proponents of any form of the Obamacare’s Medicaid (“Obamacaid”) expansion continue to tell their own lies. They repeatedly say that Oklahoma must expand Medicaid because hospitals in Oklahoma experience uncompensated care costs of $500 million annually, as well as significant burdens from charity care. But recent reporting by the Tulsa World and Oklahoma Watch show that the actual data reveals quite the contrary:

At least 40 nonprofit or government-owned hospitals in Oklahoma spent less than 1 percent of their net patient revenues caring for those who couldn't afford to pay their medical bills, records show. The data — obtained by Oklahoma Watch and analyzed and reported with the Tulsa World — covers 2011 and 2012. Some hospitals reported spending below 1 percent during both years, while only one year of data was available for others.

Moreover, further reporting sheds light on the hospitals’ oft-cited claim of $500 million in uncompensated care costs:

While records show nearly all Oklahoma hospitals report providing some free care, only a small portion of hospital revenue on average goes toward such care. Statewide, Oklahoma hospitals spent an average of 2.7 percent of their net patient revenues on charity care in 2012, federal records show. That amounted to more than $187 million in free care for the poor by hospitals statewide, out of $6.8 billion in net patient revenues.”

The fact that hospitals in Oklahoma received $6.8 billion in net patient revenues is significant, considering it is never mentioned when Obamacaid proponents discuss the “$500 million in uncompensated care costs,” which is actually $466 million, or a mere 6.7 percent of net patient revenues. Furthermore, for non-profit hospitals in Oklahoma, uncompensated care is a mere 4.9 percent of net patient revenues, or just $189.9 million out of $3.8 billion in net patient revenues. This analysis of revenues excludes analysis of the broken and non-transparent medical pricing system of most hospitals. Remember, hospitals actually make money even when they don’t make money, and they have no plans to transparently post their prices.

When it comes to Obamacare, OCPA agrees with Gov. Mary Fallin that “the whole plan’s been a debacle.” So any time a proponent of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion tries to convince you that Oklahoma should adopt some form of Medicaid expansion — why we should “take the money” or “come up with a plan for Oklahoma using the federal dollars” — remember that their promises and arguments are about as trustworthy as those of President Barack Obama when he promised “if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan. Period.”

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