Saturday morning, volunteers from Stephens, Comanche and Jefferson counties met and were trained to collect signatures in support of putting Medicaid expansion on the 2020 Oklahoma ballot.
The movement in Stephens is backed by Duncan Regional Hospital (DRH) according to Doug Volinski, chief financial officer.
“Duncan Regional is the hospital in Stephens County that provides healthcare for over 45,000 residents here in this community,” he said. “Oklahoma has the second highest rate of uninsured in the nation — almost 20 percent of people don’t have insurance. That limits access to care, people don’t go to a doctor, they go to the ER. ERs are there to stabilize a patient and send them on, many patients get prescriptions that they can’t go home and fill because they can’t afford them so they end up back in the ER again.”
Volinski said DRH had written off approximately 9 million dollars due to people who could not pay.
“3 of 10 patients that come into our hospital in the ER doesn’t pay a cent for their care,” he said. “Six hospitals in Oklahoma have closed since 2016, eight filed bankruptcy, that hurts rural communities and local communities not having health care in those communities.”
Yes On 802 has a 90-day window to gather 178,000 signatures to give voters a chance to decide on Medicaid expansion in 2020.
“One of the biggest things is we pay federal taxes. Since 2010, everybody’s been paying federal taxes and that has been used to fund the expansion of Medicaid across the country,” Volinski said. “36 states have expanded Medicaid, 14 haven’t so our money has been paying for expanded healthcare in other states — it’s time to bring the dollars back to Oklahoma and pay for care for people here locally.
“90 percent of the expansion would be paid for by the federal government and we have worked out ways for the additional 10 percent to be funded without any additional costs to tax payers.”
For more information on Yes on 802 visit their page www.facebook.com/yeson802.