HHS Secretary visits Oklahoma to celebrate Medicaid expansion

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra visited Tulsa on July 1 to help celebrate Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma, calling it a victory for the 200,000 residents who could now have “peace of mind” through access to life-changing health care. 

“Today is a victory for the nearly 200,000 Oklahomans who have been waiting for health care,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.  “I want to congratulate Oklahoma on joining the ranks of states that are bringing quality health coverage to our neighbors and families. I encourage the remaining 13 states to look at the opportunities included in the American Rescue Plan and join us, so that every person eligible can get covered.”

Becerra’s visit was timed to the day expansion became available in the state, thanks to a citizen-led petition process that resulted in a 2020 election approving expansion. 

Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Policy Director Carly Putnam, who has been working on Medicaid expansion issues for more than a decade, was one of the event’s invited speakers. She said expansion provides health care coverage for individuals, while also improving the quality of life for their friends, families, and communities. 

“Economic activity from Medicaid expansion will generate state revenue,” Putnam said. “In turn, this will bring more dollars into state coffers to support our schools, our elderly, our neighbors in need — everything that’s part of the Oklahoma standard.”

Other speakers included Terri White, CEO at Mental Health Association Oklahoma; Susan Savage, CEO of Morton Comprehensive Health Services; and Friendship Church Pastor Jamaal Dyer.

To learn more about Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma, visit OKPolicy.org./Countdown.

HHS Secretary Becerra Visits Tulsa, 7/1/21

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Hamby has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning communicator, including overseeing communication programs for Oklahoma higher education institutions and other organizations. Before joining OK Policy, he was director of public relations for Rogers State University where he managed the school’s external communication programs and served as a member of the president’s leadership team. He served in a similar communications role for five years at the University of Tulsa. He also has worked in communications roles at Oklahoma State University and the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce in Arkansas. He joined OK Policy in October 2019.

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