Backers Of Medicaid Expansion Demand Answers From Gov. Stitt

Wednesday, March 4th 2020, 7:34 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

Backers of a state constitutional amendment to expand Medicaid are demanding answers from the governor. 

More than 300,000 Oklahomans signed a petition to have a statewide vote on expanding Medicaid. And so far, the governor hasn’t set a date for that vote. So armed with another petition, voters want answers.

With the signatures of hundreds of voters in hand members of Together OK went to the governor’s office Wednesday.

“We think the governor should take an interest in what so many hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans have expressed, and that’s their desire to vote on this state question,” said Angela Monson with Together OK.

But the group left without seeing the governor and without answers.

“And we’ve simply been waiting for the governor to set an election date. This is a very very important policy to thousands and thousands of Oklahomans who are in need of healthcare access,” said Monson.

Backers of State Question 802 said the state is missing out on billions of federal dollars; and some 200,000 low income Oklahomans are forced to go without adequate coverage because the state has no plan for expansion. 

The governor’s plan to increase hospitals fees to pay for what he calls Soonercare 2.0 was shot down by the legislature.

“We know that the governor’s plan eventually will include block granting Medicaid which means that at some point individuals will be booted off the program, and coverage will be limited.  We also know the governor’s plan eventually will call for work requirements which is being challenged in court,” said Monson.

The governor’s office released a statement saying:

“The governor is actively working with his team to look at all scheduling options laid out through statutory guidelines. We do not have a set date at this time.”

“I’m not going to say he’s stalling,” Monson said. “He certainly is taking his time.”