Leadership urged to reconsider Medicaid expansion decision

In a letter from its Board of Directors, Oklahoma Policy Institute has urged Governor Fallin and legislative leaders to reconsider the Governor’s decision not to participate in the expansion of Medicaid for uninsured low-income adults.

“The practical benefits of accepting these benefits would be positive for Oklahoma families, healthcare providers, businesses, and the state’s economy as a whole”, the letter states.

The bipartisan seven-member Board of Directors is chaired by Vincent LoVoi and includes Don Millican, Nancy Robertson, Albert “Kell” Kelly, Steve Burrage, Susan Neal and Linda Edmondson.

The letter lays out the various benefits of Medicaid expansion and addresses concerns expressed by the Governor in announcing her decision.

  • The state costs of Medicaid expansion are likely to be modest and offset by savings in other parts of the budget;
  • Only by going ahead with the expansion can we ensure that taxes paid by Oklahomans to the federal government are brought back to Oklahoma and not spent only to provide health insurance to residents of other states;
  • Medicaid expansion provides an opportunity for significant improvements in the health of Oklahomans, while greatly benefiting Oklahoma hospitals, community health centers, physicians and other medical providers;
  • Not expanding Medicaid will leave the lowest-income Oklahomans stuck in a ‘coverage crater‘, earning too little to qualify for subsidized coverage through the new health insurance exchanges.

While some consider Medicaid a poor quality health insurance program that should not be expanded, the letter points to the success of Oklahoma’s Medicaid program and states, “We must continue to work to build on those successes and make Oklahoma’s Medicaid program one of the finest in the nation.”

“We know that as leaders of Oklahoma’s executive and legislative branches, you each have a steadfast commitment to doing what is best for Oklahoma’s citizens. In this case, we trust this will lead you to give renewed consideration to expanding Medicaid coverage for low-income adults,” concludes the letter

For the full text of the letter, click here. For more information on Medicaid expansion, click here.


Former Executive Director David Blatt joined OK Policy in 2008 and served as its Executive Director from 2010 to 2019. He previously served as Director of Public Policy for Community Action Project of Tulsa County and as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma State Senate. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Alberta. David has been selected as Political Scientist of the Year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association, Local Social Justice Champion by the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice, and Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers.

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