Oklahoma voters delivered life-saving care to nearly 200,000 people on Tuesday in the first vote on health care since the coronavirus began. During a competitive Republican primary, Oklahoma became the first state in the country to constitutionally protect Medicaid expansion, ensuring that politicians can never take their health care away.
“In an election year that will be dominated by health care, Oklahomans just delivered the first big win of 2020,” said Jonathan Schleifer, Executive Director of The Fairness Project, a key supporter of the Oklahoma campaign and every winning ballot measure that recently expanded Medicaid, specifically in Utah, Idaho, Maine, and Nebraska.
“Voters are tired of politicians ignoring the problem or worse, trying to take their health care away, and they’re rejecting that approach in even the deepest of red states. Americans want more health care—not less. And politicians who fail to heed that message are going to be in for a rude awakening this year.
“We have essential workers who still don’t have health care in the middle of a pandemic, we have devastating racial health care disparities, and an epidemic of rural hospital closings that leave Americans without access to care when it matters most. These are real problems and voters are rightfully demanding solutions.”
Medicaid expansion ballot victories have been supported by voters across the political spectrum. The Oklahoma campaign was no exception, bringing together a bipartisan group of doctors, nurses, patients, and business leaders.
“In one of the most turbulent times in modern history, Oklahoma just proved that there are more people interested in what is right and wrong than left and right,” Schleifer said.
The Oklahoma campaign trained 1,500 volunteers in its first 90 days alone and broke the state record for the most signatures collected for a ballot measure in state history.
“Oklahoma was an inspiring grassroots effort built on a foundation three years in the making,” Schleifer said. “What we started in Maine in 2017 has become a movement across the country. We are proving that Americans are ready to rise above partisan politics and put the health of their communities first. That was true in Oklahoma and we’re witnessing the same thing in Missouri.”
Missouri voters will join Oklahomans in voting on Medicaid expansion on Aug. 4. More than 230,000 Missourians would get access to health care if voters in the Show Me state follow Oklahoma’s lead.
Schleifer said, The Fairness Project, which has now won 17 of its 18 races, has no intention of slowing down with its ballot measure strategy. “We put voters first, and win when politicians refuse to act,” he said.