Healthcare is a matter of life, death, and quality of life—not politics.

Recently, Gov. Kevin Stitt has attempted to block the expansion of Medicaid in Oklahoma, an expansion that would provide health coverage to an estimated 200,000 state residents who earn less than $17,000 a year. The governor needs to focus on the lives of those he is elected to represent.

In all the rhetoric and grandstanding, discussions of State Question 802 are being drowned out. A record number of registered voters signed an initiative petition in 2019 in support of State Question 802. The measure would let Oklahomans decide whether the state should accept federal funds made available for Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act. In other words, this measure would expand Medicaid in Oklahoma and provide Medicaid coverage for certain low- income adults between 18 and 65 with income below 133% of the federal poverty level.

Sources show that healthcare industry support for the SQ802 is vast, with Oklahoma Hospital Association, State Medical Association, Osteopathic Association and Nurses Association all vocalizing their support. Among those supporting the question, is Oklahomans Decide Healthcare,an organization leading a campaign in support. They recently released a statement saying, "Expanding Medicaid will make our families healthier and our economy stronger. It will deliver healthcare to those who need it, including many parents, seniors, and hardworking folks who earn less than $17,000 a year. It will also bring more than a billion of our tax dollars home from Washington D.C every year to create jobs, boost our economy, and keep our rural hospitals open."

Seems like a common sense move.

But the state's leadership seems determined to derail this Medicaid expansion. The 313,677 signatures that were gathered from registered voters across the state have been verified and legal challenges have been overcome. The only hoop left to jump through, it would seem, is to schedule the actual election—which Stitt seems to be dragging his feet on.

If Oklahomans want to ensure a sound health care system in the state and affordable access for all, they must demand that SQ 802 be scheduled for an upcoming election and placed on the ballot.

Claremore Daily Progress.

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