The Weekly Wonk: Failure to repeal ACA provides opportunities to fix flaws and reconsider Medicaid expansion

the_weekly_wonk_logoWhat’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

This tax-free weekend, we reviewed Executive Director David Blatt’s blog post from last summer to remind ourselves that these “holidays” provide few real benefits and carry significant costs. Blatt’s Journal Record column addressed the recent Senate failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and encouraged lawmakers to shift their focus from repeal to perfecting the ACA. In light of the failure to repeal the ACA, Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update encourages the state legislature to reconsider expanding Medicaid.  

OK Policy Hosts 5th Annual Summer Policy Institute

OK Policy hosted over 60 students last week for our 5th annual Summer Policy Institute.  Students spent time with OK Policy staff and state leaders discussing issues of great importance to Oklahoma. The structural budget deficit, declining education funding, criminal justice reform, and systemic contributors to poverty were just some of the topics that we covered in four short days. Dr. Suzanne Mettler (Clinton Rossiter Professor of American Institutions at Cornell University) gave the keynote address, tackling the growing disconnect between government and the citizens they govern. Policy Analyst Carly Putnam live-tweeted from the event – check it out on Twitter here.

Upcoming Opportunities

OK Policy is now accepting student applicants for paid part-time internships during the fall of 2017! Interns will be expected to work between 10 and 20 hours per week, depending on their schedules and availability. The position will be based in our Tulsa office. Click here for more information or to submit an application.

Weekly What’s That

Coverage Crater

This term refers to people in states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid who earn too much for traditional Medicaid but not enough to qualify for subsidies on the online health insurance marketplaces. As of 2017, 19 states (including Oklahoma) have chosen not to, leaving people who would have been covered by Medicaid expansion without access to health insurance. This group constitutes the ‘coverage crater.’ Read more here.

Look up more key terms to understand Oklahoma politics and government here.

Quote of the Week

“Some of those people will not be getting meals, period. I challenge any legislator who wishes to come to our office to choose who doesn’t get a meal.”

– Don Hudman, executive director of Areawide Aging Agency, which offers in-home services to seniors in four counties, including meal delivery. Hudman’s agency will likely lose $300,000 due to state budget cuts in the current fiscal year (Source)

Editorial of the Week

Editorial Writers, Tulsa World

Oklahoma schools are becoming reliant on teachers with emergency certifications, meaning teachers who have college educations but lack full credentials. They might have degrees in the areas they teach, but lack pedagogy training. Others will have teaching certificates in other areas, but lack credentials or testing in the field they will be teaching. All of those credentials are there for a reason. They’re all important. Yet, last year, more than 52,000 Oklahoma school children were taught by emergency-certified teachers, with the highest numbers in elementary, early childhood and science classrooms. 

Numbers of the Day

  • 32.2% – Percentage of adolescent girls (age 13-17) in Oklahoma vaccinated against HPV, the 7th-lowest rate in the US
  • 21.6 – Average number of years served by the top 10 percent of the longest incarcerated prisoners in Oklahoma in 2014, up from 16.5 in 2000

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading


Courtney Cullison worked for OK Policy from 2017 to 2020 as a policy analyst focused on issues of economic opportunity and financial security. Before coming to OK Policy, Courtney worked in higher education, holding faculty positions at the University of Texas at Tyler and at Connors State College in eastern Oklahoma. A native Oklahoman, she received an Honors B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. with emphasis in congressional politics and public policy from the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, Courtney was a fellow at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center. As a professor she taught classes in American politics, public policy, and research methods and conducted original research with a focus on the relationship between representatives and the constituents they serve.

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