The grassroots campaign to bring Medicaid expansion to a vote of the people, Oklahoma Decides Healthcare, kicked off its voter signature collection drive at events Wednesday in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Hospital leaders in both locations signed the first petitions.
Corey Lively, CEO, Great Plains Regional Medical Center, Elk City, was among the first supporters of Medicaid expansion to sign the petition at the Oklahoma City event kicking off the 90-day voter signature collection drive in Oklahoma City. During media interviews, Lively pointed out that his hospital provides about $750,000 a month in uncompensated care. See this week’s OHA Sound Bites column for links to the media coverage from the event.
Lively was joined in Oklahoma City by several OHA members including OHA Board Chair-elect Tammy Powell, president, SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital – Oklahoma City; and former OHA Board Chair Chuck Skillings, president & CEO, SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital – Shawnee. The Tulsa kick-off event included hospital representatives from St. John Medical Center, Hillcrest Medical Center and Saint Francis Hospital.
Supporters of Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma only have until Oct. 28 to collect 178,000 valid signatures to put State Question 802 on the ballot in 2020.
Oklahoma has the second highest uninsured rate in the U.S. at 19.7 percent. Among low income (<138% FPL) adults, the uninsured rate is 32% in metro Oklahoma counties, and 38% in rural counties. One in 12 Oklahoma children (below 200 percent of poverty) is uninsured (8.1%).
To find out more about the Oklahoma Decides Healthcare campaign, to become a supporter, and to find out more about upcoming opportunities to sign the petition, go to www.YesOn802.org. (Lynne White)