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Chicken-Fried News: Too little, too late

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INGVARD ASHBY
  • Ingvard Ashby

It’s been nearly a decade since the Affordable Care Act provided Oklahoma the opportunity to receive a 9 to 1 match in federal dollars for expanding Medicaid, and still the Republican-led Legislature has done nothing. Oklahoma remains one of only 14 states holding out on expanding Medicaid. Expansion would cover more than 200,000 currently uninsured low-income, working-age adults in the state, which sounds like something a “pro-life” party should want.

Oklahomans are so sick — pun unfortunately intended — of lawmakers doing nothing about health care, we finally did something about it ourselves. As reported earlier this year, proponents of Medicaid expansion garnered the most signatures in Oklahoma history for a ballot initiative. This means no other initiative has ever been so heavily supported before actually making it on the ballot — not even modern alcohol laws or medical cannabis.

Despite only needing 178,000 signatures, proponents of the expansion, aka State Question 802, collected more than 300,000, essentially ensuring it will appear on the November 2020 ballot.

So naturally, state leadership thinks all those people are wrong. Gov. Kevin Stitt, who has presumably been unsuccessfully scrambling with his Republican colleagues all year to come up with a better alternative, said on KOKC’s The Ride with Mac & Chad that “the solution for Oklahoma is a block grant.”

“I readily admit that I’ve to come out and tell Oklahomans, ‘Here’s Plan A, and this is Plan F.’ We cannot let it be part of our constitution. Do we want more federal dollars in our system?” he said. “Absolutely, and I’m going to show Oklahomans a plan to get there.”

Stitt has been promising to show us a plan to get there, yet vaguely mentioning the block grant is the most information we’ve ever received about his plan. An article in The Oklahoman revealed that his office declined to elaborate on his comments further, which will surely give Oklahomans immense trust in his totally real, not made up at all plan.

“At this time it’s not clear exactly what the governor is going to propose, but I’m not sure it matters in the eyes of voters,” Amber England, Yes on 802 campaign manager, told The Oklahoman. “They simply don’t trust politicians to actually fix the problem. That’s why they overwhelmingly signed the petition to put Medicaid expansion on the ballot so they can decide this issue for themselves.”

Either way, Oklahomans will likely have the final say in 2020. 

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