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Tulsa Regional Chamber endorses SQ 802 to expand Medicaid

Published Thursday, June 25, 2020



The Tulsa Regional Chamber's Board of Directors has officially endorsed State Question 802, which would expand Medicaid coverage in Oklahoma. SQ 802 will appear on the June 30 ballot.

“Business leaders across industries agree: expanding Medicaid in Oklahoma is imperative for the future of our state,” said Chamber Chair Roger Ramseyer, vice president and Tulsa market leader for Cox Communications. “In order for companies to be successful, we must increase access to care and improve the health outcomes of Oklahoma’s workforce. State Question 802 is the best opportunity we have at this time to achieve this long-term goal, and it will help ensure the continued economic prosperity of the Tulsa region.”

Medicaid expansion is expected to provide health care coverage for nearly 200,000 Oklahomans currently without insurance, including more than 46,000 parents and 18,000 seniors.

“We're proud to stand with the Tulsa Regional Chamber, as well as Ascension St. John and Saint Francis Health System, in support of State Question 802,” said Kevin Gross, CEO of Hillcrest HealthCare System. “If there was ever a time when we need Medicaid expansion, it’s now. Oklahoma ranks second highest in the nation for uninsured individuals. Not only would SQ 802 expand health care to nearly 200,000 Oklahomans, but the economic impact itself would bring more than $1 billion in federal dollars into Oklahoma every year and create 17,000 new jobs. We urge Oklahoma voters to vote yes on State Question 802 and help our great state join 36 others who have already expanded Medicaid through this vital program.”

Individuals making less than $17,000 per year – or families of three making less than $29,000 per year – would have coverage following Medicaid expansion.

“Ascension St. John supports Medicaid expansion and State Question 802 because our mission calls on us to increase access and coverage to all who are in need, particularly the most poor and vulnerable,” said Jeff Nowlin, FACHE, Ascension St. John CEO and Oklahoma ministry market executive. “In states across the country, we have seen Medicaid expansion enhance access to coverage, result in more preventative care and appropriate utilization of services, and improve the financial security of those who have fallen in the coverage gap. State Question 802 is a necessary step to ensuring all Oklahomans and their families have access to affordable and quality healthcare.”

In addition to increasing the number of insured Oklahomans, Medicaid expansion’s infusion of $1 billion a year into the state economy will create thousands of new jobs and help ensure rural hospitals stay open and accessible to residents.

“In the midst of a global pandemic, I can’t think of a time when access to health care and support of rural hospitals has ever been more critical,” said Barry Steichen, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Saint Francis Health System. “Beyond the health and human implications of SQ 802, the economic benefit to the state is significant and will bring more than a billion Oklahoma dollars back to Oklahoma each year.”

Beyond creating jobs and ensuring greater access to health care for vulnerable populations, Medicaid expansion is also expected to help reduce spending on redundant health care programs in both state and county budgets.

“State Question 802 is a decade in the making, and it’s crucial we seize this chance to finally and fully expand Medicaid in Oklahoma,” said Mike Neal, Tulsa Regional Chamber president and CEO. “This has been a capstone issue on our OneVoice Regional Legislative Agenda for seven years, and we are proud to join the coalition of organizations endorsing Medicaid expansion. We at the Chamber encourage Oklahomans to vote 'yes' next Tuesday.”



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