On April 20, 2020, Oklahoma submitted an application to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for an 1115 waiver to restructure their Medicaid program through capped funding, also placing additional limits on access to Medicaid benefits.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy submitted comments in response in June 2020, stating in part:
We urge HHS to reject this proposal because of the harms it would cause those who rely on Medicaid to access health care and long-term services and supports, including older adults and people with disabilities who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. The proposal would jeopardize coverage and set a harmful precedent for other states and the Medicaid program as a whole. The Center strongly opposes capped funding of any sort as it would fundamentally alter the Medicaid program, threatening Sooner Care and the integrity of the Medicaid program nationwide.
On June 30, 2020, Oklahomans rejected such efforts to limit Medicaid, when voters approved a ballot measure to extend Medicaid to an estimated 200,000 poor adults. This makes Oklahoma the first state to expand Medicaid during the COVID-19 pandemic. The measure passed with nearly 50.5% of the vote. It initiates a state constitutional amendment to provide Medicaid to those with incomes at or below 138% of the poverty level. The amendment requires the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to submit a State Plan Amendment and other necessary documents to CMS within 90 days of the ballot measure’s approval, and for expansion coverage to begin no later than July 1, 2021. According to Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, language in the approved ballot measure prohibits the imposition of any additional burdens or restrictions on eligibility or enrollment for the expansion population.
- Oklahoma’s Application: https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/section-1115-demonstrations/downloads/ok-soonercare-2-pa.pdf
- Center’s Comments in response to Oklahoma’s Application: https://medicareadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/OK-final-comments.pdf
- Kaiser Family Foundation: https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/status-of-state-medicaid-expansion-decisions-interactive-map/
- NPR report on ballot: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/07/01/886307241/oklahoma-votes-for-medicaid-expansion-over-objections-of-republican-state-leader