On June 30, Oklahomans will be going to the polls in a statewide election that also includes SQ 802, which would expand Medicaid coverage in Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Policy Institute, which rarely takes a position on state questions, has endorsed SQ 802. We believe the expansion of health insurance coverage proposed by SQ 802 is in solid alignment with our mission of advancing fiscal responsibility and expanded opportunity for all Oklahomans.
Below is a collection of SQ 802 editorials, opinion pieces, or endorsements from throughout the state:
- Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.: Why I Support State Question 802 and Medicaid expansion: On June 30, Oklahoma voters will make a big decision about the future of health care. I hope you will join me in voting YES on State Question 802. By expanding Medicaid and bringing home our tax dollars to provide health coverage, we can improve the well-being for nearly 200,000 Oklahomans. We can help keep rural hospitals open, and we will boost the economy. [Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. Op-Ed / Tulsa World]
- Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce Urges Support of SQ802: The Board of Directors of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber recently voted to support State Question 802, which would expand Medicaid in Oklahoma for low income adults and increase access to health care in the state. The Chamber joined the SQ 802 coalition to encourage voters to approve the state question on June 30, the primary election date. “The Chamber supports Oklahoma’s pursuit of all available funds to extend health insurance coverage to more Oklahomans and stabilize costs for employers and providers,” said Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater OKC Chamber. “SQ 802 would allow Medicaid expansion that will strengthen the state’s health care system and boost our economy.” [Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce]
- Point of View: SQ 802 is pro-business, pro-Oklahoma: There are two things we often hear and say about Oklahoma, and we are proud that they are true. Across the state, in urban and rural communities, we say we are “pro-business.” The other truth we impart is that the “Oklahoma Standard” is part of our history illustrating that we pull together and help each other. State Question 802 gives Oklahomans the opportunity to access two of our state’s best qualities: being pro-business and helping one another. [Op-Ed / The Oklahoman]
- Statement from Oklahoma Catholic Bishops in support of State Question 802: based on the clients we help through the work of Catholic Charities and with patients seeking care at our Catholic hospitals, it is apparent that access to affordable health care coverage — which is so necessary for human flourishing — is becoming less available over time. This is why we support expanding such an essential program and lend our voices in favor of SQ 802. We seek better health outcomes for our fellow Oklahomans and that requires all of us to step into the breach and make those outcomes possible. [Catholic Conference of Oklahoma via The City Sentinel]
- Oklahoma League of Women Voters and its Norman Chapter Support SQ 802: The expansion of Medicaid would provide health insurance for approximately 200,000 more Oklahomans. Who would this affect? Parents who work hard but don’t get insurance through their jobs, seniors close to retirement who have lost their health insurance and Oklahomans caught in the coverage gap, meaning they make too much to be eligible for Medicaid but not enough to buy health insurance on their own. We know that having insurance is critical in getting medical care, especially with longer term, preventive care. Fourteen percent of Oklahomans are currently uninsured, and this would help us get that number down. [Aleisha Karjala, League of Women Voters of Norman Steering Committee Member / Norman Transcript]
- Op-Ed: A chance to save rural hospitals, strengthen state’s economy: State Question 802 pumps more than $1 billion into our economy every single year by providing health coverage to 200,000 Oklahomans who today cannot afford it. Even better, we do this without increasing taxes one penny. The billion-dollar boost happens by bringing home Oklahomans’ tax dollars from Washington D.C. now scattered across 36 other states that have already expanded Medicaid. [Wagoner Community Hospital CEO Jimmy Leopard Op-Ed / Muskogee Phoenix]
- Child advocacy group endorses SQ 802: The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy endorsed State Question 802, the ballot issue that will place Medicaid expansion in the state’s Constitution. “Access to affordable health care coverage for Oklahoma’s children – which is so necessary for their development – is becoming less available, particularly in rural areas of the state,” OICA CEO Joe Dorman said. Based on SoonerCare statistics, Oklahoma ranks 44th in the nation for children’s health insurance coverage. The ballot measure, if passed, would cover another 200,000 Oklahomans with Medicaid. [Op-Ed / The Ada News]
- Stillwater News Press Editorial: Yes on State Question 802: An ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure, that old chestnut, that’s how we look at Medicaid expansion. If more people can get preventative care, fewer people will need catastrophic care. People who can’t afford basic medical care, definitely can’t afford catastrophic care. More people will be productive members of the workforce, who will in turn contribute more to Oklahoma’s bottom line than it will have cost us. And it’s already cost us. We’ve paid in billions to the federal government, so now it’s time to collect. Also, it’s a really decent thing to do. We look at the numbers and the macroeconomics of it, because we know it speaks to people. We know that money talks. But, it’s about our love for humanity, as well. It’s a kindness. We could use a bit more of that. [Editorial / Stillwater News Press]
- Jay Johnson Op-Ed: Ticket to better health, better economy, a stronger state: A “Yes” vote on SQ 802 would bring those health care dollars back to Oklahoma and cover nearly 200,000 Oklahomans who don’t have health insurance today. Passage of State Question 802 will ensure no politician will be able to take that coverage away or water it down without a vote of the people. [DRH Health President & CEO Jay Johnson / The Oklahoman]
- Point of View: SQ 802 would be a step forward for Oklahoma: “At my white coat ceremony almost a year ago, I pledged to “do no harm” in the pursuit of a medical career. However, one does not need to graduate from medical school to see that our fragmented health care coverage in Oklahoma harms patients and communities, yielding poorer health outcomes than the national average.” [Daniel Pham Op-Ed / The Oklahoman]
- Tulsa World editorial: We endorse State Question 802 for a stronger, healthier Oklahoma: Thirty-six other states have accepted Medicaid expansion funding. It’s time for Oklahoma to stop refusing a huge investment in our people, our hospitals and our economy. We endorse SQ 802, and think the people will see it is the better route to a healthier state. [Editorial / Tulsa World]
- Opinion: Health coverage change pending in Oklahoma?: In Oklahoma’s primary election a week from Tuesday, the most consequential result will involve not a candidate but a cause — the effort to expand health care coverage to the state’s lower-income residents…. Frustrations over the Legislature’s inability or unwillingness to act (on Medicaid expansion) helped fuel the (SQ 802) petition drive, and no doubt contributed to the record number of signers. The organization leading the Yes on 802 campaign is named “Oklahomans Decide Healthcare.” They will do exactly that June 30… [The Oklahoman Editorial Board]
- Arnold Hamilton: An opportunity to improve health of working poor: Two governors and five legislatures failed to deliver. Now it’s up to rank-and-file Oklahomans to take matters into their own hands. June 30’s long-awaited vote on State Question 802’s Medicaid expansion proposal would – if approved – take a giant step toward improving the health of the state’s working poor… The reality then – and now – is Medicaid expansion is both smart public policy because of its public health impact and a jackpot return on investment. If voters approve State Question 802, the feds will fund a 9-1 match on every dollar that Oklahoma is out-of-pocket on Medicaid expansion. Who wouldn’t take that deal? Especially when you consider this: Each of those federal matching dollars – now spent improving the health of other states’ residents – was first sent to D.C. by Oklahoma taxpayers. And this: A recent Oklahoma Hospital Association study concluded Medicaid expansion would generate 27,280 new jobs, $15.6 billion in new economic activity and $6.7 billion in labor income. [Opinion/ The Journal Record]
- Terence Farrell, President of Mercy Hospital Ada: SQ802 expected to make near $32 million economic impact in Ada: For Pontotoc County, passage of SQ802 is expected to result in job creation and an economic impact of close to $32 million annually. The health care this provides for our most vulnerable citizens will also provide much needed reimbursement for services provided by our local hospital. Annually, Mercy Hospital Ada delivers over $27.8 Million Dollars in care via charity and bad debt, representing approximately 31% of our total operating expenses. This rate of uncompensated care is unsustainable, especially during times when our rates of compensation from Medicare and other insurers continue to shrink. [Op-Ed / The Ada News]
- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Sigma Sigma Omega Chapter supports the expansion of Medicaid for health coverage. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Oklahoma had the second highest uninsured rate in the country. The rise of unemployment and spikes in COVID cases illustrate the urgency of implementing Medicaid expansion.
- David Blatt: A chance to show real gratitude to our essential workers … with Medicaid expansion: Oklahomans have the chance to do something to improve materially the lives of essential workers. On June 30, voters will decide State Question 802, the ballot initiative that aims to expand Medicaid coverage for working-age adults with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level. These are precisely the workers whose labor we have relied on during the pandemic who stand to benefit from Medicaid expansion. [David Blatt Op-Ed / Tulsa World]
- Policy Matters: The business case for Medicaid expansion: Absent a post-session change of heart, it appears Gov. Kevin Stitt’s health care proposal – which was supposed to start July 1 – will be delayed or maybe even withdrawn due to a lack of agreement on how to fund it. There could not be a worse time for tens of thousands of newly unemployed Oklahomans to be without health care coverage. This leaves State Question 802 as the only path for many Oklahomans to gain access to much-needed health insurance. [Ahniwake Rose / Journal Record]
If your organization or publication supports SQ 802 and would like to include it with this list, please email relevant information to firstname.lastname@example.org.