What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk shares our most recent publications and other resources to help you stay informed about Oklahoma. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.
This Week from OK Policy
SQ 802 Reports and Analysis:
- New analyses from OK Policy and Families USA quantify benefits of Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma: Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma will create jobs, help the state budget and change lives, according to two new reports released by the Oklahoma Policy Institute (OK Policy) and Families USA. The two reports show the importance of an upcoming ballot initiative to expand Medicaid. [OK Policy]
- The economics of Oklahoma Medicaid expansion during pandemic and recession: Creating jobs, helping the state budget [Families USA]
- Medicaid expansion: Ten years of unparalleled return on investment, improved outcomes [Paul Shinn & MaryAnn Martin / OK Policy]
- SQ 802 will dramatically improve financial well-being in Oklahoma: Expansion is a financial issue. This is true both for the state and the families who will enroll in Medicaid. Without expansion, too many of our neighbors make health care decisions based on their finances rather than their health. The financial burden of health care leads many uninsured Americans to make do by relying on home remedies or over-the-counter medications, postponing medical care, and skipping a doctor’s visit altogether. [Paul Shinn / OK Policy]
- SQ 802 is a win for criminal justice reform in Oklahoma: Nearly a decade of evidence shows that expanding Medicaid increases access to mental health and substance use treatment, supports diversion programs, and even correlates with reduced crime rates, particularly for communities of color and rural communities. Passing SQ 802 is a great opportunity to move our state’s work on criminal justice reform forward. [Damion Shade / OK Policy]
- Policy Matters: Voting yes on SQ 802 is the right decision: Oklahomans have several important decisions to make in the upcoming statewide election, including which primary candidates to pick from and what health precautions to take if voting in-person on Tuesday. One question, though, is an easy choice – voting yes on State Question 802. [Ahniwake Rose / OK Policy]
- ASK OK Policy: State Question 802 (video): On June 30, Oklahomans will decide State Question 802, a measure that expands Medicaid coverage to low-income Oklahoma adults between the ages of 19 and 64. To help Oklahomans better understand the issue, our Policy Director and Health Care Analyst Carly Putnam discusses what Medicaid expansion is, the financial implications of SQ 802, and who would be covered by Medicaid expansion. [OK Policy via YouTube]
- SQ 802 makes good fiscal sense for Oklahoma (video): Don Millican, who serves as the Immediate Past Board Chair for OK Policy’s Board of Directors, recently spoke about why SQ 802 is good fiscal policy for the state. Reducing the number of uninsured Oklahomans strengthens our economic position and makes good business sense. [OK Policy via YouTube]
Additional OK Policy Publications and Analysis:
- KIDS COUNT 2020: Oklahoma ranks 45th for child well-being: Oklahoma children continue to lag behind most states when it comes to major health and well-being indicators, according to the 2020 edition of the KIDS COUNT® Data Book published annually by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Oklahoma ranks 45th overall for child well-being, just ahead of Nevada, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico. [OK Policy]
- OK Policy statement: Gov. Stitt press conference about June 25 Medicaid audit findings: “The Oklahoma Health Care Authority provides quality care, delivered efficiently, to hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans. The data presented during the briefing doesn’t immediately appear to align with findings from previous state and federal audits, which occur frequently and rigorously.” [Read the full statement]
- Voting in Oklahoma: Everything you need to know about voting in the June 30 statewide election: Today — Tuesday, June 23 — is the final day to request an absentee ballot for the June 30 election. Learn about absentee ballots and more using this handy resource from Together Oklahoma. [Emma Morris / Together Oklahoma]
Weekly What’s That
One of the primary provisions of the Affordable Care Act gives states the options to expand their Medicaid eligibility to include people below 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($16,735 per year for one person or $34,638 for a family of four). The costs of expansion were paid for in full by the federal government through 2016, before dropping down (and freezing at) 90 percent in 2020, well above the typical federal match.
As of March 2019, 37 states, including Washington D.C., have expanded Medicaid. Oklahoma has opted not to, leaving billions in federal funding on the table, and more than 100,000 Oklahomans in a ‘coverage crater’ (too low-income to qualify for subsidies on the health insurance marketplace, too wealthy or not a member of a population group that is eligible to qualify for traditional Medicaid in Oklahoma).
Quote of the Week
“Business leaders in Tulsa agree that Medicaid expansion … is of critical importance to our future.”
–Tulsa Regional Chamber Chairman Roger Ramseyer, vice president and Tulsa market leader for Cox Communications, in announcing the chamber’s support for SQ 802, which would give expanded Medicaid health coverage to working poor adults and help secure financially strapped health providers. [Tulsa World]
Editorial of the Week
COVID-19 changes almost everything, but it doesn’t change the importance of voting
This week’s election will surely go down as one of the oddest in state history. The COVID-19 pandemic changes almost everything, and nothing more than the process of representative democracy…
We predict confusion. Some voters won’t know where to vote. Some substitute polling workers won’t know how to do the job. Anti-COVID-19 processes will probably slow down even the most efficient polling places. Democracy is often messy, but Oklahomans deserve better.
One thing coronavirus doesn’t change is the importance of voting.
Numbers of the Day
- 1 in 4 – Uninsured Black adults fall into the coverage gap, compared to 11% of White uninsured adults and 7% of Hispanic uninsured adults. This reflects the fact that a large share of uninsured Black adults resides in the southern region of the country where most states have not adopted the expansion. In contrast, Hispanics are less likely to fall into the gap since several key states that have large numbers of uninsured Hispanics have adopted the expansion, including California, New York, and Arizona.
- #2.3 billion – Amount of new economic activity expected to be generated in Oklahoma if it fully expands Medicaid.
- 34% – Percentage nationwide of uninsured Black adults in the coverage gap who would be newly eligible for health care if all states expanded Medicaid. The share among other races is 28% for people of color, 25% for Hispanics, and 23% for whites.
- 38% – Percentage of Medicaid workers nationwide who are employed in firms with fewer than 50 employees, which are not subject to ACA penalties for not offering affordable health coverage. Industries and occupations with the largest number of workers covered by Medicaid often include jobs that are physically demanding such as food service or construction.
- 42% – Percentage of LGBTQ youth who say the community in which they live is not accepting of LGBTQ people.
What We’re Reading
- Inequities Amplified By COVID-19: Opportunities For Medicaid To Address Health Disparities [Health Affairs]
- Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma: Creating jobs, helping the state budget, and protecting families [Families USA]
- The impact of the coverage gap for adults in states not expanding Medicaid by race and ethnicity [Kaiser Family Foundation]
- The Implications of Medicaid Expansion in the Remaining States: 2020 Update [Urban Institute]
- Two Spirits, One Heart, Five Genders [Indian Country Today] Note: June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month, which is celebrated each June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising.