Oklahoma to decline $54 million health exchange grant

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 25, 2011

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Officials in Oklahoma will not accept a $54 million grant to develop a health insurance exchange, Gov. Mary Fallin said April 14. Instead, the state will use local and private funding to build the exchange.

The national health system reform law requires all states to have an exchange in place by 2014. The Dept. of Health and Human Services would run an exchange in any state that fails to establish a marketplace for health consumers to purchase coverage by the law's deadline.

Oklahoma was one of six states to which HHS awarded an early innovator grant in February. However, state politicians did not want to be perceived as capitulating to the national health reform law and the Obama administration, said Wes Glinsmann, director of state legislation and political affairs for the Oklahoma State Medical Assn. The state is one of several seeking to overturn the health reform law.

"There's no policy behind it," Glinsmann said of the state's decision to decline the grant. "It's just politics."

Note: This item originally appeared at

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