OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahomans across the Sooner State went to the polls Tuesday to decide on a Medicaid expansion that would cover about 200,000 citizens.
State Question 802 would expand Medicaid in Oklahoma – a move that ‘s received criticism from some, including Governor Kevin Stitt.
But in recent years, there has been a push across the state to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma.
Since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2014, Oklahoma has rejected federal money for Medicaid expansion.
”Right now, the fact that we’re not accepting Medicaid expansion, we’re turning away over a billion dollars a year annually,” Yes on 802 Campaign Manager Amber England said.
In October, volunteers with ‘Yes on 802’ turned in thousands of signatures in order to get State Question 802, which would expand Medicaid, on the ballot. The group needed 178,000 signatures to move their petition forward.
In the end, the group broke a state record for turning in the most signatures in state history with 313,000. After being analyzed by the Secretary of State’s office, the agency verified 300,000 signatures.
If passed, an estimated 200,000 Oklahomans who make less than $17,236 annually, and families of four earning less than $35,535, would get healthcare.
The federal government would pay 90 percent of the expansion with the state picking up the other 10 percent of the tab.
Those opposed say it would be too expensive, including Governor Stitt, who vetoed a bill for the SoonerCare 2.0 Medicaid expansion plan saying that his office says would not have provided a stable funding source.
Two weeks ago, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced that a state agency is looking at other ways to improve Oklahoma’s Medicaid system.
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority says it will seek proposals from qualified managed care organizations to facilitate health care services to eligible and enrolled members of SoonerCare.
The request for proposals is expected to be released this fall.
“I am committed to making Oklahoma a Top Ten state in health outcomes, and engaging providers through a managed care organization will help us achieve our goal of ensuring Oklahomans receive improved access and quality care,” Governor Kevin Stitt said. “While we do expect cost savings to follow the improved health outcomes, the state will continue to be laser-focused on helping Oklahomans.”
“Our commitment is to serving Oklahomans in the best way possible,” OHCA CEO Kevin Corbett said. “An MCO program will allow the state to coordinate SoonerCare members’ needs in the best way possible with providers, while containing costs through a capitated, risk-based model.”