OKLAHOMA CITY (OK) – In an interview with the Oklahoman today, State Sen. Stephanie Bice doubled down on repealing the Affordable Care Act and offered her alternative proposal: replacing health care insurance with health care savings accounts. Oklahoman reporter Chris Casteel replied that for low-income families, a savings account would not be enough to cover the cost of lifesaving care.
The Affordable Care Act currently insures 158,OOO Oklahomans through the ACA marketplace. More than 7OO,OOO Oklahomans living with pre-existing conditions are able to access health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act’s protections. And next year, 2OO,OOO more Oklahomans will gain insurance because of Medicaid expansion, which Oklahoma voters supported. Bice was also a vocal opponent of Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma.
In today’s interview, Casteel pushed back on Bice’s plan by replying that health savings accounts would not cover the cost of lifesaving care for Oklahomans. Bice replied that instead of making healthcare more affordable, Oklahomans need to get healthier to reduce health care costs. The average cost of a COVID-19 hospital stay for a patient who does not have insurance is $73,OOO, far more than any low- or middle-income family could save in an HSA.
Meanwhile, Congresswoman Horn supports strengthening the Affordable Care Act, rather than scrapping the health care system. This year, she voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act to lower premiums for families buying insurance through the marketplace, and to increase federal matching funds for Oklahoma’s Medicaid expansion. Congresswoman Horn has also introduced legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs for seniors and voted to pass the Lower Drug Costs Now Act.