Upcoming Oklahoma election to address Medicaid expansion
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma —The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health (MCNDH) supports State Question 802 because it aligns with the Nation’s mission to secure healthy generations of Native people. Passing SQ 802 would have an estimated $9 million economic impact on MCNDH services by bringing home tax dollars to provide health coverage and support rural hospitals.
“While our primary mission is to serve Muscogee (Creek) Nation citizens and Native Americans, we also provide healthcare services to non-Native people at our Okmulgee and Okemah hospitals and serve as a critical safety-net provider in those communities,” said Shawn Terry, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Secretary of Health.
With more than 175,000 annual visits to the 10 MCNDH facilities throughout the MCN jurisdiction, the Nation understands the importance of providing affordable healthcare to the 45,000 registered patients.
“Too many people are uninsured in Oklahoma and lack access to quality and affordable medical care,” said David Hill, Principal Chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. “There are significant health disparities in Native American populations. We have high infant mortality rates, as well as high rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Oklahomans shouldn’t have to choose between feeding their family or medical treatment.”
On June 30, 2020, State Question 802 will appear on the ballot to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma. If approved, it will provide healthcare to individuals, especially parents and seniors, earning less than $17,000 a year and keep tax dollars in Oklahoma.
“Expanding Medicaid will not only make families healthier, but could bring nearly a billion of our tax dollars home to Oklahoma,” said Secretary Terry. “This money will keep our rural hospitals open, boost Oklahoma’s economy, and help Oklahomans that are struggling with a gap in healthcare coverage,” Terry said.
SQ 802, if passed, would provide Medicaid coverage for certain low-income adults between the ages of 18-65 with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level.
“We encourage our citizens residing in Oklahoma to exercise their right to vote and do their part in creating better medical coverage for the state,” said Chief Hill.
The Nation believes by uniting resources and building partnerships, federal, state and tribal governments can come together to improve Oklahoma’s health outcomes and provide Native Americans and all Oklahomans with greater healthcare opportunities through the passage of SQ 802.
More information on SQ 802 is available at yeson802.org.
About Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health
Headquartered in Okmulgee Okla., the Muscogee (Creek) Nation is the fourth largest tribe in the United States with more than 89,000 citizens. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health operates 6 clinics and a physical rehabilitation center serving tribal citizens. MCNDH also provides inpatient and emergency services in Okmulgee and Okemah to both Native and Non-Native patients through its community hospitals and long-term acute care facility.