As I mentioned previously, the budget includes $164 million to cover the first year of the voter-approved Medicaid expansion, which will provide critical healthcare services to approximately 200,000 more Oklahomans starting July 1. More than 51,000 citizens have been approved for SoonerCare benefits since enrollment opened on June 1. About 65% of them have been women. Those who are 19 to 64 years old, whose income is 138% or lower than the federal poverty level, are eligible for coverage. For individuals, this is around $17,800 annually and nearly $36,600 for a family of four. You can apply at MySoonerCare.org or by calling 800-987-7767. One of the main contributing factors to our state continually ranking low for poor health outcomes is our inadequate number of medical professionals. Many Oklahomans, especially in rural Oklahoma, don’t have access to any kind of healthcare but instead have to drive to another community to get help. For the elderly and disabled, this is near impossible and a tremendous hardship. To get more doctors and nurses on the job, we restored a historic sales tax credit for OU Health that will allow significantly more healthcare professionals to be trained in our state. We also appropriated nearly $10 million to create a children’s mental health unit at OU Health.
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