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.

Policy Research Fellow

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Note: This article was first published on Oct. 18, 2018. On Nov. 5, 2018, this article was republished with dollar figures adjusted for inflation to 2018 dollars.

Both the cost and number of people enrolled in Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, SoonerCare, have substantially increased since 1997. Medicaid is a medical welfare program set up by the federal government but run by the states. It is funded in part by the federal government and in part by the state government. According to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA), enrollment in state medical welfare programs has more than doubled, expanding from 437,969 in 1997 to 1,014,983 in 2017.

Oklahoma Medicaid Total Enrollment


Total annual expenditures for the state entitlement program, including federal and state funding, increased from $1.9 billion to more than $5.4 billion over the last 20 years. The chart below shows SoonerCare’s total costs from 1997 to 2017.


Oklahoma’s share of Medicaid costs has grown from $536 million to $2.3 billion, more than a 329 percent change since fiscal year 1997.


Policy Research Fellow

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