Feds grant extension to Oklahoma health program

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Many low-income Oklahomans would have lost healthcare coverage as a result given that the state declined to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare.

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, an opponent of the healthcare law, praised Friday's waiver as a "big win" for her state and the "tens of thousands" that receive coverage through Insure Oklahoma.

"These Oklahomans and their families can now rest easy knowing that they won't lose their insurance on Jan. 1," Fallin said in a statement.

The waiver comes with some conditions.

People making between 100 and 200 percent of the poverty line will obtain coverage through ObamaCare's new insurance marketplace rather than through Insure Oklahoma as they had in the past.

This new requirement will not apply to people making 200 percent and less of the poverty line if they are insured through the program's employer-sponsored wing.

CMS also noted that Oklahoma will be ineligible for ObamaCare's additional matching funds for low-income patients and will instead receive Medicaid's regular matching rate.

"We look forward to working with Oklahoma and all other states in bringing a flexible, state-based approach to Medicaid coverage expansion and encourage the state to explore these options," said agency spokeswoman Emma Sandoe.

"We encourage all states to adopt the Medicaid funding made possible by the Affordable Care Act, which provides 100 percent federal funding for three years and never falls below 90 percent federal funding for people newly eligible for Medicaid."