Oklahoma City — The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy endorsed State Question 802, the ballot issue that will place Medicaid expansion in the state’s Constitution. Voters will cast ballots on the issue in the June 30 primary election.
OICA is the preeminent group advocating on behalf of Oklahoma’s children. Mitchell Rozin, OICA’s board president, said supporting State Question 802 was an easy decision for the group. “Access to affordable health care coverage for Oklahoma’s children – which is so necessary for their development – is becoming less available, particularly in rural areas of the state,” he said. “This is why the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy supports expanding such a necessary program and advocates a vote in favor of SQ 802.
“We strongly encourage all supporters of Oklahoma’s children to join us in support of this important effort to improve the lives of Oklahoma’s children.”
Based on SoonerCare statistics, Oklahoma ranks 44th in the nation for children’s health insurance coverage. The ballot measure, if passed, would cover another 200,000 Oklahomans with Medicaid.
Unlike other proposals, this would imprint the Medicaid expansion in the Oklahoma Constitution, ensuring politicians could not repeal or touch it without a vote of the people. That became more important this year when leaders at the State Capitol first announced they would expand Medicaid, then dropped the proposal as the legislative session ended.
Under SQ 802, single adults making less than $17,236 annually and families of four earning less than $35,535 each year would get healthcare coverage. Also, a billion dollars of state taxpayers’ money would be returned to the state, strengthening healthcare across the state and creating an estimated 27,000 jobs over the next five years, according to a study by the Oklahoma Hospital Association.
“So far, 36 other states – including both ‘red’ and ‘blue’ states – have accepted Medicaid expansion funding,” said OICA CEO Joe Dorman. “Without SQ 802, Oklahomans’ federal tax dollars will be going to help residents of other states instead of our own.
“If we can improve the quality of life for our children and bring our federal tax dollars home, it is a ‘win-win.’”
Dorman also noted that children in families that qualify for Medicaid are 29 percent more likely to get at least one well-child visit to the doctor every year. “That is an extraordinary boost in better outcomes for children, and a big reason passage of State Question 802 is so important to us.”
Finally, Dorman said, Oklahomans deserve to know their healthcare is protected and secure. Putting it in the Constitution, as SQ 802 does, is the only way to accomplish that. “Our job is to fight for Oklahoma’s children,” he said. “Making sure they, and their families, have access to healthcare is a core value of OICA, and is why we strongly endorse passage of this ballot measure.
“We ask all Oklahomans who care about children to join us in voting ‘yes’ on June 30.”