OKLAHOMA CITY - Supporters of expanding Medicaid began collecting signatures Wednesday to put the issue up to voters. Volunteers will have to collect 178,000 valid signatures over the next 90 days in order to put the issue of on the November 2020 ballot. 

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us,” said Jared Deck, a volunteer who said he will be out collecting signatures three to five times a week. “We’ve been waiting for this for 10 years and I’m just really excited to be a part of it.”

Supporters of expansion said it would bring back to Oklahoma a billion dollars in federal to provide healthcare for nearly 200,000 uninsured Oklahomans.

They also said it will help save rural hospitals.

Elk City CEO Corey Lively was one of the first to sign the petition and said his hospital alone pays out about $750,000 a month for uncompensated care for patients that come to his emergency room but can’t afford to pay.

“We’re already seeing these patients on a day in day out basis,” explained Lively. “It gives them the much-needed access to protect them, to protect their family.”

Most Oklahomans seem to agree. SoonerPoll results show 56% of those polled support Medicaid expansion including about 40% of Republicans.

 

 

Do you SUPPORT or OPPOSE the expansion of Medicaid in the state of Oklahoma?

 

1.    Strongly support

2.    Somewhat support

3.    Combined support

4.    Neutral/Don’t know [DNR]

5.    Somewhat oppose

6.    Strongly oppose

7.    Combined oppose

 

141

69

210

60

39

64

103

 

37.8

18.5

56.3

16.0

10.5

17.2

27.7

 

“Anytime you can get half the Republicans and all the democrats or all the Republicans and half the Democrats you can get just about anything passed in this state,” said Bill Shepard of SoonerPoll.

Opponents, including Governor Kevin Stitt argue Medicaid expansion would cost the state about $100,000,000 possibly more in the future.

But Shepard said when they asked a follow up question with that information support for expansion stayed basically the same. 

 

If passed, Medicaid would be expanded to those with incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level, estimated to be as many as 200,000 Oklahomans. The federal government would fund roughly 90 percent of the cost, and the state government would have to pay 10 percent of the cost, or what some have estimated at $100 million. Knowing this, do you SUPPORT or OPPOSE Medicaid expansion in the state?

 

1.    Strongly support

2.    Somewhat support

3.    Combined support

4.    Neutral/Don’t know [DNR]

5.    Somewhat oppose

6.    Strongly oppose

7.    Combined oppose

 

 

 

 

 

 

134

73

207

36

46

83

129

 

 

 

 

 

 

36.0

19.7

55.7

9.6

12.4

22.4

34.8