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Budget Cuts May Hurt Kidney Patients, Others (Jan 19, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY - If forced to cut its budget by 10 percent, Oklahoma likely will stop paying for kidney dialysis treatments, prescription drugs and medical equipment like wheelchairs and oxygen supplies for low-income adults, according to state health officials.

The state expects to face a $600 million shortfall during the 2011-12 Fiscal Year, and lawmakers are warning agencies to prepare for cuts up to 10 percent.

Oklahoma Health Care Authority spokesman Nico Gomez said the agency intends to target adult services that aren't required by the federal Medicaid program.

Dialysis for adults is not required, and neither are adult programs in dental services, prescription drugs, and medical equipment.

Gomez stopped short of saying the services would definitely be stopped, adding the agency wants legislators to weigh in before cuts are made.

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