Could Medicaid Expansion Happen in Oklahoma?


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According to HealthInsurance.org., “By not expanding Medicaid, Oklahoma is missing out on $8.6 billion in federal funding between 2013 and 2022.” In metro areas, the uninsured rate is around 32%. In rural areas, it’s around 38%– some of the highest uninsured rates in the US. Yet, Oklahoma has refused expansion. Rural areas are hurt the most by non-expansion. Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma would help in rural areas by keeping care providers doors open, keeping emergency care close by, and keeping unemployment in rural areas down.

It has been shown that Medicaid expansion is popular in both red and blue states. Raising awareness of this issue and organizing members in the community to take collective action could be achieved by implementing strategies used by other states. 1) encouraging former and present state officials to attend events demonstrating support. 2) collaboration with agencies across the state for ongoing information sharing. 3) Keeping state legislatures updated on coverage progress and value of having data available.
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The Kaiser Family Foundation has mentioned some marketing and outreach initiatives that have been shown to be effective. Broad mass marketing campaigns and local grassroots efforts can be implemented: print, radio, and billboards using high profile personalities to deliver the message, perhaps sports figures. Finding local avenues for materials such as churches, collage compasses, beauty and barber shops, local grocery or community stores, libraries, sports events, and extension centers have shown importance. Relations with local radio outlets like Magic 95 with Indie Michaels and programming on KJMZ radio can be useful in reaching a variety of listeners in our area. Also, finding outreach opportunities at large community events like fairs and sporting events can be useful. Providing opportunities for speakers on this issue at political, civic organizations, and churches can also be used as educational opportunities.
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HeathInsurance.org has stated that “By not expanding Medicaid, Oklahoma pays federal tax dollars that are used to pay Medicaid expansion in other States. At a recent forum in Lawton, Ok, all 2018 Comanche County candidates expressed a need for expansion. Holding those expressing this objective accountable will be a good measure. Having constituents keep lawmakers on task and moving forward on Medicaid expansion will be most important.

 

Terry Gresham

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