Governor proposes advance to help agency

Thursday, March 15th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Oklahoma City-AP) -- Governor Keating is proposing a more than eleven (m) million dollar advance to help the Oklahoma Health Care Authority pay overdue bills.

Officials at the agency say that's not enough to cover a more than 20 (m) million dollar budget deficit. Spokesman Nico Gomez says that's enough to pay last week's claims but the agency must also think about the next three months.

Health officials hoped to receive emergency funding from the Legislature this week, but a bill providing money to state agencies was effectively killed.

Republicans in the House and Senate blocked approval of an emergency clause, meaning the bill doesn't go into effect until months after the session ends in May.

The Republicans contend it's unconstitutional for several agencies to be included in one funding bill.

Health Care Authority Director Mike Fogarty says the shortfall is because of imprecise budget projections and an increase in the SoonerCare insurance program for children.