Governor Kevin Stitt has really been kicking ass in this whole “top ten state” business he’s been promising. For example, he recently announced he’s going to work hard to make sure 14% of Oklahomans continue to not have health insurance, the second highest rate in the country!
Gov. Kevin Stitt said Tuesday he will actively discourage Oklahomans from voting for Medicaid expansion if the question goes before voters in the 2020 general election.
“I’m going to tell Oklahomans that’s the wrong approach, but I understand I’ve got to give them plan B,” Stitt told The Oklahoman.
Stitt’s comments come days after Medicaid expansion supporters filed an initiative petition to let Oklahoma voters decide whether to make more low-income people eligible for the federal-state health insurance program.
That’s interesting. Back in January, Stitt said he was open to expansion. Now he’s against it like he was on the campaign trail. It’s nice to see him grow into the type of politician he ran against in the elections.
According to my public school math ability, 14% of Oklahoma’s population is equal to around 550,000 people. That means over half a million Oklahomans are without health insurance. But don’t worry. If we will just be patient and trust Mr. Stitt, he has better ideas…
Although he did not give specific details, Stitt said he intends to put together a plan to improve health care in Oklahoma.
“You can’t just say ‘no, don’t vote for that.’ We have to say, ‘here’s the better way to do this,’” he said…
The Affordable Care Act gives states the option to expand their Medicaid eligibility to include people who fall below 138% of the federal poverty line. The federal government would cover 90% of the costs of the expansion in Oklahoma with an estimated $900 million a year. Oklahoma would cover the remaining 10%.
But Stitt and other Republicans have concerns about whether the federal match would hold at 90% or dip in later years, putting a greater burden on the state to pay for expansion, which has not happened in other states.
Okay, but while we are waiting for this mythical “plan B,” thousands of Oklahomans are still without health insurance. No Medicaid expansion means no preventative and maintenance health care. No Medicaid expansion means people without insurance are having to wait until dire, life or death situations to seek healthcare, which they still can’t pay for. In fact, in 2012 it is estimated that uninsured patients cost hospitals in Oklahoma roughly $547 million—which hospitals often compensate for by charging insured patients out the wazoo. So yes, taxpayers would be out $100 million yearly if the Medicaid expansion increases. But as more of my public school math tells me, $100 million is a whole hell of cheaper than $547 million.
I probably made a math-ing error somewhere. Just comment below. Then follow Hayley on twitter @squirrellygeek