Health Care

Kaitlyn Finley | June 10, 2020

Reject Medicaid expansion

Kaitlyn Finley

[Click here for our handout on why Oklahoma must reject Medicaid expansion.]

1. Medicaid Expansion Costs More Than Expected

Other states’ experiments with Medicaid expansion have consistently busted their budgets. Expansion states signed up 6 million more able-bodied adults than what was projected by state officials, resulting in massive cost overruns in each state. In all, Obamacare Medicaid expansion has cost taxpayers 157 percent more than expected.

2. Oklahoma’s Medicaid Program Has Already Expanded

Since 1998, Oklahoma’s Medicaid enrollment has risen by 126 percent (see SFY 2018 OHCA Annual Report, pg. 17) while our state’s general population has only grown by 18 percent, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. During that same time, Oklahoma’s annual share of Medicaid costs increased by 254 percent from $644 million to $2.3 billion when adjusted for inflation (see SFY 2018 OHCA Annual Report, pg. 63). 

According to a report commissioned by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, 628,000 able-bodied, working-age adults would be eligible for Medicaid if Oklahoma expanded its Medicaid program under Obamacare (see Leavitt Report, Alternatives Report, pg. 57). Taking into account total eligibility and average costs of per-person expansion enrollees ($5,965, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), Oklahoma taxpayers could be on the hook for as much as $374 million annually.

3. Expanding Medicaid Hurts Those It Is Meant For

Expanding Medicaid in Oklahoma could divert state resources from Oklahoma’s traditional Medicaid population—children, pregnant women, the elderly, and the disabled—and instead favor the newly eligible population of 628,000 able-bodied, working-age adults. It would also increase state costs and force lawmakers to either raise taxes, take away resources reserved for more needy Medicaid beneficiaries, or slash funding for priorities like education, transportation, and public safety.

Kaitlyn Finley Policy Research Fellow

Kaitlyn Finley

Policy Research Fellow

Kaitlyn Finley currently serves as a policy research fellow for OCPA with a focus on healthcare and welfare policy. Kaitlyn graduated from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Previously, she served as a summer intern at OCPA and spent time in Washington D.C. interning for the Heritage Foundation and the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

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