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Point of View: Time to set election date on Medicaid expansion

Angie Giselbach
Angie Giselbach

When it comes to Medicaid expansion, more than 300,000 Oklahomans just like me have raised our voices to be heard loud and clear — and it’s time for the governor to listen to those voices and set an election date for State Question 802.

Together, we collected a record number of signatures in every corner of the state to give voters the power to keep rural hospitals open, expand access to health care and bring our tax dollars home from Washington to help the people of Oklahoma.

Instead of respecting the will of our citizens, Gov. Kevin Stitt continues to throw out alternative ideas that have very little chance of being implemented. I may not be a public figure, but as one of the hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans who needs health care, I simply can’t stay silent any longer.

We need a plan we can trust, and that’s why we’re ready to vote on SQ 802.

I work six days a week at two jobs — neither of which provides health care. I can’t afford to see a doctor, much less pay the huge medical bills that would arise should a serious illness or injury strike. We have Oklahomans who desperately need access to cancer treatments, heart medicine and other life-saving care, and we can’t keep looking the other way while hard-working folks slip through the cracks.

Oklahoma’s challenges go well beyond those of us without health insurance too. We all have friends and family living in rural communities, and we’ve all watched while too many of their hospitals have shuttered their doors for good. We’re facing a rural health care crisis that forces Oklahomans to drive long distances when a loved one is battling long-term illness or needs critical care for a medical emergency. Without Medicaid expansion, the problem will only get worse.

The delay in approving Medicaid expansion has also cost the state critical resources and jobs. We’ve thrown away more than 4.9 billion of our tax dollars already, and this wasteful approach has to change. Rather than sending our money to states like Texas and Massachusetts, Medicaid expansion would bring more than a billion of our dollars home every single year to benefit our communities.

There’s only one sure way forward, and that’s to give voters the chance to vote yes on State Question 802. After nearly a decade of waiting, it’s time to set an election date and let Oklahomans decide what is best when it comes to our health care.

Giselbach lives in Del City.