Jul 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Oklahoma voters approve Medicaid expansion

State capitol of Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma State Capitol. Photo: Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Oklahoma voters on Tuesday narrowly passed a ballot measure to expand Medicaid, making it the first state to do so during the coronavirus pandemic, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Nearly 200,000 low-income adults could qualify for health insurance under the expansion, and that number could rise because of the recent surge in unemployment.

The big picture: Oklahoma had been among 14 Republican-led states to refrain from expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

  • On Tuesday, it became the fifth state to circumvent its legislature and expand the program through a ballot initiative.
  • Oklahoma has the second-highest uninsured rate in the nation at 14.2%, according to CNN.

Worth noting: The measure could thwart the administration's plan to make Oklahoma the first state to cap Medicaid spending with a federal block grant program, a move Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) supports.

What's next: The measure mandates the state to expand Medicaid by July 1, 2021.

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