The state legislature wrapped up the strangest session in recent memory by overriding a number of the governor’s vetoes but allowing one to stay in place that could mean massive cuts.
This legislative session was cut short by COVID-19, marred by fighting between the governor and the legislature, and ended with what appears to be the death of the governor’s plan for expanding Medicaid.
Republicans and democrats worked together to override six of Governor Kevin Stitt’s vetoes, but left in place his veto of a funding mechanism for Soonercare 2.0 which would have increased the hospital fee to raise $134 million for Medicaid expansion.
“We were a little surprised by some of the choices the governor made but he’s talked about his plan for quite some time and we look forward to seeing how we are going to fund the expansion,” said Senator Kay Floyd (D) Minority Leader.
“That one was shocking. That was the governors bill. That’s what the governor asked for in his state of the state, he continued to ask for. This wasn’t the legislatures Medicaid 2.0. That one was especially shocking because we got no notice that he wasn’t for it anymore,” Representative Jon Echols (R) Majority Floor Leader added.
Voters now have the option to pass State Question 802 to expand Medicaid.
“If 802 obviously it will have to have a funding stream. But for right now it’s in the voters’ hands,” said Senator Greg Treat (R) President Pro Tempore.
“We don’t believe that every option is on the table. Specifically, revenue raising measures,” Senator Floyd added.
In other words, a tax increase, or cuts, or a combination of the two to fund the $164 million expansion.Meanwhile, the governor and legislature are working to mend fences.
“I like the governor personally, so I woke up with a heavy burden in my heart. Went to the Lord in prayer and decided that it was important to reach out to him to have him come to my office and just talk,” Senator Treat said. “He had said his peace and I had said my peace. We walked out of there both of us in a very good mood.”