Ooooooklahoma!...where Medicaid expansion just came sweeping down the plain...
I wrote about this several times last year, but I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I haven't revisited the status of Oklahoma's Medicaid expansion ballot proposal since November:
In Red State Oklahoma, Medicaid Expansion Nears 2020 Ballot
A campaign in Oklahoma to expand Medicaid via the ballot box far eclipsed the necessary number of signatures needed to put the measure before voters next November 2020, supporters said Thursday.
The submission of 313,000 signatures to put a constitutional amendment on next year’s general election ballot shattered the required 178,000 needed by the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office, organizers said. Media reports in Oklahoma said supporters of Medicaid expansion broke a state record when it comes to signatures needed for a statewide ballot initiative.
Well, regardless of my neglect of the story for the first half of 2020 (you know how every election rests on my influence...kidding!), I'm happy to report that last night, Oklahoma's "Yes on 802" campaign to expand Medicaid to around 200,000 Sooners under the Affordable Care Act was successful!
via Jeffrey Young of the Huffington Post:
Oklahoma will become the latest state to adopt the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion after voters passed a ballot measure Tuesday that aims to cover an estimated 200,000 low-income adults.
...The result also marks the fifth time voters implemented Medicaid expansion at the ballot box after waiting years for their Republican governors and legislatures to act. Two years ago, successful ballot initiatives in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah led to Medicaid expansion, while a similar measure in Montana failed. Maine voted to broaden Medicaid eligibility in 2017. Missourians will have an opportunity to vote on Medicaid expansion this August.
To learn more about Missouri's ballot initiative, visit Yes on 2 / Healthcare for Missouri.
...Under current law, Oklahoma’s Medicaid eligibility rules are very strict. Adults without children living at home and adults without disabilities cannot qualify for Medicaid no matter how little they earn. Parents may be eligible, but only up to 41% of the federal poverty level, which is $8,900 a year for a family of three.
It's also important to note that the "Yes on 802" campaign learned the lessons from the prior campaigns in Utah, Idaho and Nebraska, where Republican governors and legislators attempted to mutate the initiatives by adding work requirements, co-pays, a lower income threshold and other measures to weaken the expansion, although some of those were later abandoned or made moot.
In Oklahoma, the proposal was worded to actually amend the state constitution, which presumably makes it bulletproof:
Oklahoma voters narrowly approved a state question to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income residents.
With all precincts reporting Tuesday, State Question 802, which asked voters to expand Medicaid, passed by 6,488 votes.
The question will enshrine Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma’s constitution — effectively preventing Oklahoma’s GOP-controlled Legislature and Republican governor from limiting or undoing the expansion.
Anyway, congratulations are due to the Yes on 802 folks and the ~340,000 Oklahomans who voted for the expansion!
Now let's hope that the U.S. Supreme Court doesn't strip it all away before it even has a chance to go into effect...