Oklahoma Watches and Warnings

Healthcare workers push for Medicaid expansion state question

OKLAHOMA CITY - Will Oklahomans vote to accept more Medicaid dollars to pay for uninsured patients? That’s a question that will be debated next week in the State Supreme court.

Today, some Oklahomans making a huge push to get the question on a state-wide ballot in 2020.

A group of Oklahoma doctors, nurses, and healthcare and business professionals are looking to get 178,000 signatures to put Medicaid expansion to a vote in 2020.

“We believe its time to let Oklahomans decide on the future of healthcare in Oklahoma.” Said Patti Davis of the Oklahoma Hospital Association.

Oklahomans Decide Healthcare wants to expand Medicaid coverage. They kicked off a new campaign on Wednesday with a new website and video.

The group says accepting more funds from the feds it will provide better healthcare coverage for nearly 200,000 Oklahomans.

“Hospitals feel that covering the uninsured is a very important thing for Oklahomans,” said Davis.

Patti Davis says Oklahoma ranks second in the nation for the highest number of uninsured residents.

“Its time to do something. We have been waiting almost a decade to find a way to cover Oklahoma’s low-income citizens with some kind of health care coverage.”

Opponents to Medicaid expansion say it will cost Oklahoma millions when the state picks up the 10% of the bill that federal funds won’t cover.

“It actually saves the state money because there are a lot of programs that Oklahoma spends 100% state dollars to provide the care. This will pay for itself it will grow our economy,” said Davis.

Governor Kevin Stitt has been opposed to Medicaid expansion in its present proposed form since taking office. Has his stance on the issue changed>

“No it hasn’t …still researching," said Governor Stitt.

Proponents of Medicaid expansion say it will help rural hospitals the most

“We will be able to shore up our struggling small hospitals by providing some relief in terms of being able to provide some of the care that they providing for free now will have a payer source,” said Davis.

Whether the expansion can legally be put to vote at all is something that the State Supreme court will tackle June 18th.

Right now, Oklahomans Decide Healthcare is looking to get 178,000 signatures to put the question on a statewide ballot next year.

For more information, visit OklahomansDecide.org.

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