07.01.2020 / Press Release
Oklahoma is Expanding Medicaid; Will Missouri Follow Suit?
July 1, 2020– Yesterday, Oklahoma residents voted on State Question 802, a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid. The tally is in and the voters sent a clear message that they want Medicaid expansion. As a result, the state will adopt full Medicaid expansion to cover adults with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level within the next year, joining all but 13 other states.
This election result is a win for Oklahoma’s families and economy. Findings from a recently released Families USA report show that federal dollars from Medicaid expansion in the state will generate $2.3 billion in increased economic activity from doctors, nurses, and hospital staff and create 26,000 new jobs. It also indicates that the economic activity resulting from expansion will generate $123 million in increased sales and income tax revenue to help balance state and local government budgets.
And a report from the Oklahoma Policy Institute (OK Policy) reveals that expanding Medicaid will give 200,000 working Oklahomans who don’t receive health insurance through their employers access to coverage so they no longer have to choose between life-saving care and putting food on the table. It will also bring more than a billion federal tax dollars to the state—money Oklahoma has lost out on for years.
“As we’ve said many times and demonstrated through our analysis and research, Medicaid expansion will provide significant benefits to states and residents—which are especially vital in the middle of a pandemic,” said Carly Putnam, Policy Director for the Oklahoma Policy Institute. “We are glad Oklahomans passed this initiative to help connect 200,000 of our friends and neighbors to essential health coverage. We look forward to working with our elected officials and policymakers to ensure that expansion is implemented as quickly and responsibly as possible.”
“Clearly, Oklahomans could not ignore the significant economic benefits that Medicaid expansion will bring to their communities,” said Joe Weissfeld, Families USA’s Director of Medicaid Initiatives. “Expansion will limit the damage sustained by Oklahoma’s economy due to the ripple effect caused by COVID-19— boosting state revenue and employment during what threatens to be the deepest recession in generations.”
Health care advocates in Missouri are hoping their state follows Oklahoma’s lead—residents will vote on an expansion ballot initiative on August 4. In order to call attention to the benefits of expansion, Families USA and Missouri Health Care for All released a video analysis touting the ways it will help.
“Oklahoma and other states have underscored how vital Medicaid expansion is to families and local economies,” said Jen Bersdale, Executive Director of Missouri Health Care for All. “Every time voters have had the opportunity to choose to expand Medicaid, they have voted to expand. We hope to harness this momentum when Missourians vote to expand Medicaid by passing Amendment 2 on August 4th. We have the chance to help more than 230,000 of our neighbors and local communities—and save the state more than $1 billion by 2026.”