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This year, Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly approved an initiative petition to expand Medicaid. This comes years after inaction from the administration and legislature. Gov. Stitt also announced his own health care plan to expand Medicaid. In 2014, the Affordable Care Act gave states the authority to expand Medicaid access to individuals in families whose income is below 133% of the federal poverty line, opening a channel for millions of Americans to receive care through the program. Following the lead of 37 other states across the country, Oklahoma has the opportunity to widen this social safety net that provides health care coverage to about a million Oklahomans every year. 

In Oklahoma, and in many states, the majority of Medicaid recipients are children. Pregnant Oklahomans are also eligible for Medicaid, depending on their income, and more than half of the births in Oklahoma in 2014 were paid for through Medicaid funding. Overall, the majority of adult Medicaid recipients are women, since women have historically received lower wages than men in the workforce, and because women are more likely to be single parents.

Medicaid is one of many programs that was authorized by the Social Security Act, and is meant to provide an option for health care to individuals under a certain income level in the United States. The federal government establishes a national guideline of parameters for the program, but each state administers the program differently. Because of that, there are some disparities in access across the country.

Unlike Medicare, which provides medical coverage for adults over the age of 65, Medicaid is a program designed to keep individuals and families covered, despite gaps in income, reduced wages, or other unexpected financial hardship. Programs like this are designed to keep all of our communities safe and healthy.

Together, Oklahomans can work on improving the state’s health outcomes. Let the Medicaid agency know Oklahomans deserve true Medicaid expansion.

Tags: Medicaid Expansion