Tags: Medicare | obamacare | republicans | oklahoma

Oklahoma Voters Consider Medicaid Expansion

graphic shows medicaid logo and word medicaid on a blue background

By    |   Monday, 29 June 2020 01:35 PM

Oklahoma voters will consider approving a ballot measure on Tuesday that would expand Medicaid to at least 200,000 poor adults, Politico reports.

If the measure is approved, Oklahoma would be the first state to expand government-backed health insurance amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposed expansion would give coverage to poor adults without children earning about $17,000 per year. People who fall under that category often have limited affordable coverage options because they don’t earn enough to qualify for subsidies to purchase health insurance through the Obamacare marketplace, according to Politico.

“In terms of the pandemic, now more than ever people understand that when you need health care, you need it now,” Amber England, the campaign manager behind the ballot measure, told Politico.

But voter turnout amid the virus outbreak will play a factor in whether the measure can garner enough support. So does a warning from Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt that the state may not be able to afford the program as it faces a $1.3 billion budget shortfall due to the pandemic. Also, at play, is the Trump administration’s ongoing push to limit the Obamacare program. Oklahoma is a Republican state and officials have previously refused Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion.  

Oklahoma has the country’s second worst uninsured rate at 14%, according to Politico.

In order to get the measure passed, supporters have spent nearly $2 million on advertising, according Advertising Analytics.

Those opposed to the ballot initiative include the Oklahoma chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a Koch brothers-backed conservative group that recently launched its own ad campaign against the expansion.

During a virtual event hosted by the group, Stitt said the state would be unable to pay for the new service without raising taxes or cutting services.

“The money doesn’t just appear,” Stitt said.

But Democrat officials say the expansion is needed.

“We simply can’t afford not to” expand coverage, said Oklahoma House Minority Leader Emily Virgin.

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Oklahoma voters will consider approving a ballot measure on Tuesday that would expand Medicaid to at least 200,000 poor adults, Politico reports.
obamacare, republicans, oklahoma
318
2020-35-29
Monday, 29 June 2020 01:35 PM
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