OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A question of whether to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma and a busy republican field struggling to challenge the state’s lone congressional Democrat draw the most attention ahead of Tuesday’s primary election.
State Question 802 would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to extend Medicaid’s health insurance coverage to those who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty level, which is about $ 17,200 for a person or $ 35,500 for a family of four.
Oklahoma is one of 14 states – along with neighboring Texas and Kansas – that did not extend Medicaid under the 2010 Federal Affordable Care Act, mainly because Oklahoma Republican governors and legislators have opposed it. Instead, residents have petitioned to put the measure on the note.
According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, Idaho, Maine, Nebraska, and Utah include states that have expanded Medicaid through a ballot paper. A vote in Missouri is scheduled for August 4.
The Oklahoma proposal has the approval of chambers of commerce, medical groups, the Oklahoma Education Association and the Oklahoma Conference of Churches along with most Democrats in the legislature.
But Republican Governor Kevin Stitt was a fierce critic, saying the proposal could lead to tax hikes or cuts in other programs, including education.
“I’m going to vote no for SQ 802. This is going to cost our state $ 200 million,” Stitt said during an event this week with Americans for Prosperity. “We have a billion dollar deficit next year.”
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has predicted that approximately 215,000 residents would be eligible for a Medicaid extension, for a total annual cost of approximately $ 1.3 billion. The estimated state share is said to be approximately $ 164 million.
If the proposal is passed, the legislator is expected to increase the fee that hospitals pay from 2.5% to 4%, which would generate about $ 134 million annually. Stitt vetoed such a measure this year.
In another game closely watched, Republicans in Oklahoma City’s 5th congressional district will take to the field of nine GOP candidates vying for the U.S. Rep. Many experts say the incumbent first term is one of the most vulnerable in the nation as it represents a district president Donald Trump who won nearly 14 points in 2016.
“Republicans clearly see OK-5 as one of their best chances of” turning around “a house chair, and that’s right,” said Matthew Motta, professor of political science at Oklahoma State University. ” The race has attracted several fairly well-funded challengers. And because President Trump won the district by more than 13% in 2016, most non-partisan election analysts classify the race as a toss-up. ”
Four of the GOP challengers have raised more than $ 500,000, including businesswoman Terry Neese, Senator Stephanie Bice, former Chief Inspector Janet Barresi, and businessman David Hill. The busy field probably makes a primary drain.
Horn raised over $ 3.3 million this cycle, the bulk of the state delegation. She will face multi-year candidate Tom Guild on Tuesday, a retired university professor from Edmond.
Republican US Senator Jim Inhofe and US representatives Markwayne Mullin and Tom Cole are all heavy favorites in their GOP primaries Tuesday.
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