Why Saving The Income Tax Is Critical For Health Care

1. Income tax is essential to health care funding. One-third of all state tax revenue is from the income tax and nearly $500 million in income tax dollars support health care programs for low-income children, seniors, and persons with disabilities and mental illnesses. The state could not provide these essential services without the income tax unless other taxes were dramatically increased.

2. Oklahoma is faring poorly in health care outcomes. Oklahoma dropped to 48th this year in the United Health Foundation’s overall health rankings. Our high prevalence of untreated mental illness, obesity, tobacco usage, and diabetes all call for renewed public investments that will be hindered by further tax cuts.

3. Health care funding has been hampered by budget cuts. As the state has struggled with budget shortfalls, contracts with private health care providers have been cut and waiting lists for services for those with developmental disabilities and mental illness have grown. The budget for public health services has been cut by over 20 percent.

4. Tax cuts jeopardize the Medicaid program. Medicaid is the shared state-federal program that provides health care coverage to nearly one in five Oklahomans, especially low-income seniors, persons with disabilities, and children. It is a vital funding source for hospitals, doctors, nursing homes, in-home care providers, medical suppliers, and other private sector businesses. If we cut taxes, we will face serious shortfalls in Medicaid funding, which could lead to major cuts in payments to providers and reduced access to care.

What You Can Do Today

1. Get Informed. Resources to learn more about the income tax debate are freely available athttps://okpolicy.org/take-action

2. Contact Elected Officials. Let your elected representatives and the top officials who are making decisions on taxes and the budget know how you feel. Your voice can be heard!

Speaker Kris Steele (405) 557-7345 krissteele@okhouse.gov
Rep. Earl Sears, Chair of House Appropriations and Budget committee (405) 557-7358earl.sears@okhouse.gov
Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman (405) 521-5528 bingman@oksenate.gov
Senator Clark Jolley, Chair of Senate Appropriations Committee (405) 521-5622jolley@oksenate.gov
Governor Mary Fallin  (405) 521-2342 click here to email the Governor
Find your state legislators’ contact information here and see how to contact Governor Fallin here. You can also reach your legislators through the House switchboard at (405) 521-2711 or 1-800-522-8502  and the Senate switchboard at (405) 524-0126 or 1-800-865-6490.

CLICK HERE for the PDF version of this factsheet


Oklahoma Policy Insititute (OK Policy) advances equitable and fiscally responsible policies that expand opportunity for all Oklahomans through non-partisan research, analysis, and advocacy.

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