Cigarette tax hike set for Oklahoma House hearing

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OKLAHOMA CITY –  A plan to impose a new $1.50-per-pack tax on cigarettes to help prevent further cuts to Oklahoma’s Medicaid program is scheduled for a key vote in an Oklahoma House committee.

A House budget panel has scheduled a Monday afternoon hearing to consider the bill, which supporters say could generate about $182 million annually.

Without an infusion of funding, the state agency that oversees Medicaid funding in Oklahoma has warned of cuts as deep as 25 percent to health care providers.

Hospitals and nursing homes have said cuts that deep would force some facilities to close or stop treating Medicaid patients.

The proposal would require a three-fourths vote in the Republican-controlled Legislature, which means some Democratic support is needed in the House.

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