Oklahoma is on track to expand Medicaid on July 1, but legislators still don’t know how to pay for the state’s share of the expansion.
And the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated the situation.
Skyrocketing unemployment claims mean the expansion, and costs for the state’s current Medicaid program, could be about $100 million more than previously anticipated.
Altogether, the $250 million would amount to about 3% of the current state budget, but the state is projected to have a $1.3 billion revenue shortfall in the budget year that begins July 1.
In other words, extra cash will be hard to find next year.
Gov. Kevin Stitt said he’s still aiming to pay for the state’s 10% share of Medicaid expansion by increasing a hospital fee. The federal government will cover 90% of expansion costs.
“I maintain I will not raise taxes on Oklahomans,” Stitt said. “This is going to have to be a provider tax, and the Legislature’s still kicking around how to fund that.”
The provider fee is the Supplemental Hospital Offset Payment Program, enacted in 2011. So-called SHOPP assesses a fee of up to 4% of annual net patient revenue at 65 Oklahoma hospitals. The fee, which is adjusted annually, currently sits at 2.3%.