Lawmakers discuss passage of SQ802

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 6:21 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Although the numbers were close, State Question 802 passed on Tuesday with 50.48% of the vote. Two Oklahoma State Representatives spoke with 7News about how the new constitutional amendment will expand Medicaid eligibility for low income Oklahomans.

The passing of SQ802 will help thousands of Oklahomans between the ages of 18 and 65 whose income is at or below 138% of the federal poverty level. The prior number for eligibility was 133%.

State Representative Trey Caldwell said the legislature was expecting SQ802 to pass, which is why they started preparing.

“It’s why we passed SoonerCare 2.0, to try to get out in front of this before it was vetoed by the Governor,” said Rep. Caldwell, (R) HD63. “So, we are prepared for the funding mechanisms of the bill, as long as the expenses don’t get rampant. So I think the way we’ll fund it is we’ll look at some kind of mixture between increased SHOPP funding and TSET money. That’s kind of the plan as of right now, last I heard from anyone.”

SHOPP funding uses money from very profitable hospitals and distributes it to hospitals in rural areas, or other hospitals that do not have high patient counts to help ensure the hospital system as a whole stays equal.

Rep. Caldwell said the state getting a federal match of one to nine is what got the attention of many voters.

“I think a lot of people like the idea of going out there and spending a dollar and getting nine back from federal match,” said Rep. Caldwell. “We have a lot of programs in the state, from highway stuff where we’ll bend over backwards to go get one to one matches or one to two matches. So the one to nine match is really, really enticing.”

State Representative Cyndi Munson said the passage of SQ802 will save money for Oklahoma in the long run.

“The health and the wellness of Oklahomans is something that’s always been a priority in terms of when I’m out asking what is important for me as a State Representative and how I’m serving Oklahomans,” said Rep. Munson, (D) HD85. “Because we know when people are healthy and feel good physically, mentally, emotionally, they are more likely to work and more likely to reach their full potential.”

Rep. Munson said there was a willingness to work together between republicans, democrats and health organizations to find a solution for funding of the Medicaid expansion, and she hopes it continues into next year.

“So I feel hopeful that regardless of the challenges and things that we’re facing right now with coronavirus and other challenges that we’ve seen because of the pandemic that we will work together to find a solution,” said Rep. Munson.

The new constitutional amendment will be implemented on July 1, 2021.

Copyright 2020 Texoma News Network. All rights reserved.