Medicaid Matters Rally

A woman takes part in a Medicaid Matters rally at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City last year.

JIM BECKEL/The Oklahoman file

Jonathan Small's op-ed in opposition to the expansion of Medicaid ("No, it won't improve hospital finances," June 21) distorts the reasons for expansion, misrepresents available research and relies on unverifiable sources.

Small claims Medicaid expansion will not improve hospital finances and suggests rural hospitals continue to close in states that have expanded Medicaid. He provides no citation to back that argument.

In a 2018 "Health Affairs" paper, faculty from the Colorado School of Public Health found that Medicaid expansion from 2006 to 2016 was associated with improved financial performance of hospitals and a lower likelihood of hospital closure, particularly in rural areas.

Small says supporters claim Medicaid expansion will result in better outcomes. Some people may make this argument, but most of us who support the effort do so because it is not humane for people not to have access to health care they can afford.

Small relies on an unidentified "gold-standard" study to argue that Medicaid expansion doesn't change medical outcomes in its first two years and, thus, should not be expanded. The National Bureau of Economic Research study Small apparently references suggests outcomes have to be measured over a longer time and should take into account the effects of a wide range of other factors.

The studies Small relies upon to make his argument don't support his conclusion. Voters should not be distracted by the research optics of Small's op/ed. 

Medicaid Expansion makes sense for Oklahoma hospitals. More importantly, it makes sense for the people of Oklahoma. Vote "yes" on State Question 802.

Mark S. Darrah, Tulsa


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Editorial Pages Editor

Wayne is the editorial pages editor of the Tulsa World and a political columnist. A fourth-generation Oklahoman, he previously served as the World’s city editor for 13 years and as a reporter at the state Capitol of four years. Phone: 918-581-8308