Vote YES on SQ 802.

Make your voice known.

As your trusted health partner, you can count on INTEGRIS Health to be your champion and the advocate for creating a healthier Oklahoma.  To create a healthier Oklahoma we need your help.

In the June 30, 2020 primary elections, Oklahomans will have the opportunity to vote on State Question 802. A YES vote will create expanded health insurance coverage for many Oklahomans. While this is not a perfect solution, it is a step in the right direction because it helps Oklahomans live healthier lives by assisting our families and neighbors in gaining access to needed health care—something the COVID pandemic and the current recession have underscored.

INTEGRIS Health supports a YES vote on State Question 802.

 

Why support State Question 802?

 

Expanding access to health care is an especially important task in Oklahoma. Our state has the second highest rate of uninsured individuals in the country. State Question 802 will offer additional health coverage for thousands of Oklahomans, such as our hardworking neighbors whose jobs do not offer health benefits.

Access to health care matters because it can make a meaningful impact on health outcomes and quality of life. Many people in Oklahoma suffer from chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, which require regular care in order to control. Without access to health coverage, affording regular care and prescriptions can be difficult and diseases like this can quickly get out of control.

In medicine, we know the prevention is key and that early detection of issues improves outcomes. However, without health coverage it is difficult to take the early steps, such as regular doctor visits, that help people to prevent larger health issues from arising. By creating a new path for our hardworking neighbors to gain health coverage, we make it easier for them to actively manage their health and ensure that they can prevent larger issues from arising.

Additionally, our state will benefit from bringing back the federal dollars we have already paid. Currently, our tax dollars are being sent to other states to pay for their health care. SQ 802 ensures that Oklahoma claims those dollars and $1 billion will be reinjected into Oklahoma’s economy every year. These dollars will strengthen our communities and economy, creating jobs throughout the state.

Resources:

The Effects of Medicaid Expansion Under the ACA: Updated Findings from a Literature Review (Kaiser Family Foundation)
The Economic, Fiscal, and Employment Impacts of Health Care Modernization in Oklahoma (Oklahoma State Chamber Research Foundation)
Oklahoma and the ACA’s Medicaid Expansion (HealthInsurance.Org)
State Question 802 Ballot Text (Oklahoma State Election Board)
Medicaid Expansion: An Opportunity to Improve Financial Health (Oklahoma Policy Institute)
Medicaid’s Impact on Health Access, Outcomes, and State Economies (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

 

 

 

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SQ802 Q&A

State Question 802 is a proposed constitutional amendment that will expand Medicaid (also known as SoonerCare) in Oklahoma. This will allow anyone making under 138% of the poverty line (approximately $17,000 a year for a single adult or $29,000 for a family of three) to have access to health insurance. 

No. SQ 802 only requires the state to make eligibility requirements for the new SoonerCare population the same as they are for the existing population. The state can continue to improve SoonerCare, as long as all SoonerCare members are treated the same.

The number of individuals who would be eligible for SoonerCare varies with the economy, but our best estimates right now are that 200,000 Oklahomans who do not currently have health insurance would get coverage if SQ 802 passes.

90% of the costs of covering people under SQ 802 will be paid for by the federal government. The Legislature will be responsible for funding the other 10%. There are many health services offered by the state currently that are paid for with 100% state dollars that the state will only have to pay 10% of the cost going forward if SQ 802 passes. These new savings and other sources of funding can be used by the Legislature to cover the state share of SQ 802.

There is currently no alternative to SQ 802 to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma. The governor cancelled his plan after he vetoed Senate Bill 1046, which would have funded it.. Only State Question 802 guarantees Medicaid Expansion in Oklahoma.

Mounting evidence shows correlation between Medicaid expansion and healthier outcomes.[i]States that expanded Medicaid are healthier as a whole than those that did not. United Health Foundation found that the 22 healthiest states in their 2018 rankings have all expanded Medicaid.[ii]

 

[i] “The Effects of Medicaid Expansion under the ACA: Updated Findings from a Literature Review,” Kaiser Family Foundation, March 17, 2020. https://www.kff.org/medicaid/report/the-effects-of-medicaid-expansion-under-the-aca-updated-findings-from-a-literature-review/

[ii] “America’s Health Rankings, 2018 Annual Report,” United Health Foundation, https://www.americashealthrankings.org/learn/reports/2018-annual-report

The 90/10 funding split for Medicaid expansion is set in federal law passed by Congress.Only Congress can reduce federal spending for Medicaid expansion going forward. Thirty-six states have expanded Medicaid, making it highly unlikely that Congress would shift more of the obligation to the states.

The Medicaid program is a voluntary program in which each state participates in partnership with the federal government. If the federal government changes the rules, the Legislature can send a joint resolution to a vote of the people to repeal the provision.

Currently, Oklahoma hospitals spend $500 million per year covering the costs of uncompensated care. Uncompensated care occurs when someone receives health care without having insurance or another way to pay for the care they receive. Hospitals are required to care for patients regardless of their ability to pay for services. If SQ 802 passes, more people will have health insurance and hospitals will provide less uncompensated care.

No. SQ 802 will reduce the amount of uninsured Oklahomans and the amount of uncompensated care provided by Oklahoma hospitals. This will help keep costs down for all Oklahomans, regardless of their source of health coverage.

No. The Legislature will be responsible for funding Medicaid Expansion, but funding the state match is possible through existing funding and savings without the need to raise taxes. In consideration of the current budget shortfalls, injecting more than $1.2 billion the first year from the federal government into the Oklahoma economy will mitigate the need for drastic budget cuts. Funding the state match for Medicaid expansion is possible through maximizing existing state funding such as public health, behavioral health, and corrections.  

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