Medicaid Expansion

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about nearly $600M extra for the state to allocate in the coming fiscal year, incoming Governor Kevin Stitt nominate Blayne Arthur to be the state's first female Secretary of the Agriculture and a federal judge declares an OKC ordinance banning panhandling in certain medians constitutional.

A ballot initiative that would have continued funding Montana's Medicaid expansion beyond June 2019 has failed. But advocates say they'll continue to push for money to keep the expansion going after that financial sunset.

Voters in three traditionally Republican states supported ballot measures to extend Medicaid benefits to more low-income adults.

The results highlight the divide between voters, even in conservative states, who generally support providing health benefits to the poor, and conservative politicians who have rejected the expansion, which is a central part of the Affordable Care Act.

Montana legislators expanded Medicaid by a very close vote in 2015. The measure passed with the condition that the expansion of Medicaid eligibility in the state would expire in 2019 unless lawmakers voted to reapprove it.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

On Election Day, voters in three traditionally Republican-led states will decide whether or not to expand Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor and people with disabilities.

It wasn't all that long ago that Grant Burningham was homeless and sleeping in a tent in the woods.

"That's hard for me to talk about because I thought I had reached the end," he says.

Burningham, a former financial adviser from Bountiful, Utah, developed serious medical problems 17 years ago. Back in 2001, Burningham offered to donate his stem cells to his sister for a transplant. It required multiple procedures, and each time Burningham was given high doses of a medication to boost his immune system.

"And then I got really sick," he says.

State Rep. Christy Perry pledged her full support for President Trump while standing next to her SUV, which has "NRA" on the license plate and is parked outside a Boise, Idaho, gun shop she co-owns.

"He's doing a good job," said Perry, a four-term Republican member of the Idaho Legislature who has voted for a litany of conservative causes, including weakening labor unions, restricting abortion and boosting charter schools.

With those credentials, Perry hopes for another big win on Election Day — one that puts her at odds with Trump and GOP orthodoxy.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

On a hot Monday afternoon, Zora Sampson stands behind rows of chairs set up in the lobby of the hospital in Pauls Valley. Sampson supports the Democratic candidate for Governor Drew Edmondson — and turned up to hear his plan to help rural hospitals.

Updated at 6:50 a.m. ET

Voters in Maine have easily approved a referendum to expand Medicaid for low-income adults, doing an end-run around Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who vetoed the move — a key element of Obamacare.

Maine is one of a handful of states deciding major issues by referendum on Tuesday, including New York and Ohio.

Kansas state Sen. Barbara Bollier is a Republican who has been fighting for years to get her colleagues to agree to expand Medicaid.

For years she pushed against what she described as a "Tea Party-ish" Senate and a governor who wouldn't consider the issue. In return for her efforts, she was stripped of her committee assignments and sidelined.

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