OKLAHOMA CITY - Three state senators are voicing their commendation of Governor Frank Keating's decision to apply for recently approved federal heath insurance dollars. The new money for Medicaid is targeted to help children whose parents cannot afford health insurance.
Senators Ben Robinson (D-Muskogee), Angela Monson (D-Oklahoma City), and Bernest Cain (D-Oklahoma City) are expressing their whole-hearted support for the action by Governor Keating and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.
"I want to commend the Governor for working with the Legislature and the Health Care Authority in applying for these federal dollars," said Senator Robinson. "These additional federal moneys will go a long way to insuring the children of working parents who could not afford health care coverage by themselves."
The money is earmarked for children age 15 and younger. It's for children living at 185 percent of the national poverty level. The program will give Oklahoma up to $82 million a year for the next five years. What Oklahoma is submitting will capture only a portion of the $82 million.
"This is a wonderful first step for Oklahoma to assist in the provision of health care services for thousands of uninsured children," said Senator Monson. "It will also provide us with a great opportunity to look at new ways to expand health care coverage for children in the upcoming session."
Oklahoma is third in the nation in the number of children without any health care coverage. Officials estimate the new federal money available through Medicaid could provide insurance for up to 100,000 children.
"We owe it to the future of this state to jump at every opportunity that will give our children a better quality of life," said Senator Cain. "Every child in Oklahoma deserves to have access to proper health care."
Senator Robinson also had praise for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority's involvement in this process. "The Health Care Authority has done a tremendous job working on this project," noted Robinson. "Officials over there deserve a pat on the back for their efforts."