On June 30, Oklahoma will vote on State Question 802 which would amend the state constitution and add a provision to expand Oklahoma’s Medicaid program to include able-bodied adults.
Supporters of State Questions 802 claim Oklahoma must expand Medicaid in order to protect rural hospitals from closure. They contend increasing the amount of Medicaid members in local communities will secure more government dollars for the local hospital.
But as Jay Johnson, CEO of Duncan Regional Hospital recently noted in a legislative hearing, hospitals lose money on each Medicaid patient they treat. Any business owner knows that focusing on securing a larger client base of money-losing customers is not sustainable long term.
This is a major reason why dozens of rural hospitals are still closing in expansion states years after the state implemented expansion, as shown by the list below (compiled from Becker’s Hospital Review).
Sitka Community Hospital (July 2019)
Cochise Regional Hospital (July 2015)
DeQueen Medical Center (May 2019)
St. Mary's Hospital (Jan 2016)
Fayette Regional Health (May 2019)
Doctors Hospital at Deer Creek (October 2018)
North Adams Regional Hospital (March 2014)
Nye Regional Medical Center (August 2015)
TLC/Lakeshore Healthcare Center (January 2020)
Doctor’s Hospital Nelsonville (July 2014)