If the federal government gave your state more than 50 million dollars, what do you think they would do with it? Would they give it back? It isn’t often that you would see a state turning down federal money, but that is exactly what is happening in Oklahoma. They are turning down 54 million dollars in federal grant money.
The 54 million dollars in federal grant funding was going to be given to the state as a part of the new federal healthcare law. The Department of Health and Human Services chose seven states to receive funding from the 240 million they were given to jump start the new health-care plan.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department announced that they would not be using the one million dollars they were given by the federal government last August. Not only are they not using it; they’re sending it back. The federal funds were given to them to conduct a review on health insurance premiums and rate increases.
The review was to see if there had been unreasonable, unjustified or excessive increases in the rates of healthcare premiums. John Doak, the Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner stated that they would continue conducting the review using state funds and resources.
The insurance commissioner also appealed to the Oklahoma governor to sign Oklahoma bill SB 722. This would allow Oklahoma to opt-out of the federal health-care plan and be responsible for its own (healthcare) regulation. The bill (SB 722) would let each state defer federal laws, regulations and orders if it feels the laws are inconsistent with the laws and regulations the participating states have adopted (referring to health care).
Oklahoma is one of almost 30 states that have filed a lawsuit challenging the new healthcare law’s constitutionality. Other states that may be turning down federal grant money related to the healthcare law are New Hampshire, Kansas and Wisconsin.