Hospital Association pushes for federal funds

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Hospital Association is pushing for our state leaders to accept federal funds related to the controversial Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The association is meeting at hospitals around the state to inform residents and businesses about the plan.

It's something the Governor has refused to do, but some say that move will leave many low income Oklahomans without health care. The Hospital Association says 600,000 Oklahomans don't have insurance.

"Hospitals have to accept people who come in the emergency, take care of them," said Rick Snyder. "If they have no insurance, the hospital ends up increasing the price for everyone else."

Snyder works with the Oklahoma Hospital Association. He says hospitals are already sacrificing $2.4 billion in Medicaid funding over the next ten years.

"The idea is the federal government could use that money to expand insurance to people who don't have it now," said Snyder.

The catch is, those billions boil down to taking funding related to the Affordable Care Act. State legislators have to approve receiving those funds. Snyder says it's not a popular plan, but other states are working around it.

"Conservative states have worked toward ways that let them accept these federal funds," said Snyder. "ways that consistent with their conservative values."

Without the federal funding to replace Medicaid money, Snyder says a city like Enid would be out $74 million in ten years. A smaller city like Purcell would lose $5 million. Oklahoma City metro area would lost $960 million in the next decade.

"As it stands now, money is gong to go to other states."

Snyder says Oklahoma need to use our federal tax dollars to insure low income residents are covered.

"We can build on that concept, and use it to accept federal funds and cover more low income working people," said Snyder. "So we're excited about that opportunity."

A research group is working with the state. The goal is to come up with an alternative to the ACA in order to make sure low-income residents will have access to health insurance.

News Channel Four made several attempts to reach out to the Governor's Office today, but our calls were not returned.

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