The Community Service Council Board of Directors and Executive Leadership endorse State Question 802, the ballot initiative to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma. CSC is a nonprofit organization that since 1941 has worked to improve the lives of Oklahomans around a vision of a community empowered to ignite opportunities and eliminate disparities. Through the strength of more than 80 employees, CSC meets our mission of confronting challenges to health, social, education and economic opportunities by advancing solutions that focus on prevention and strategies that invest in individuals and families to better care for themselves and our community. For decades, disparities in the health of Oklahoma’s children and families has been a key focus area of CSC, and this includes the lack of affordable and accessible healthcare that is a harsh reality for many disadvantaged and hard-working families today.
Through our work serving those in need, CSC knows first-hand that far too many Oklahomans find it immeasurably difficult to receive the healthcare services they need to work, and earn sufficient wages to support their families. With nearly 16% of Oklahomans living at or below poverty level, our state’s refusal to bring our federal tax dollars back to Oklahoma to pay for 90% of the state’s costs to provide Medicaid coverage for working-age adults is preventing these families from rising out of poverty. Without Medicaid expansion, many families will be at risk of falling further into poverty and/or illness as the cost of healthcare rises. Additionally, many of those who would qualify for new coverage already work multiple jobs, but too often, those jobs do not offer healthcare benefits.
We must break this cycle and adjust our course. Medicaid expansion would be a bridge to opportunity and a better life for many thousands of Oklahomans. In the 36 other U.S. states that have expanded Medicaid, improvements were made to both the health of individuals and the economy. In expansion states, new healthcare jobs were created that pay an average of $40 per hour. Meanwhile, expansion states have also seen infant and maternal mortality rates lowered, both of which are serious problems in Oklahoma and focus areas for CSC.
In all, CSC supports and endorses Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma because affordable healthcare builds healthy families and a healthy workforce, which in turn build a stronger and healthier Oklahoma that can move toward a prosperous future.
CSC will soon open its doors as a location for Oklahomans to go to sign the petition in favor of SQ802.