Center for American Progress

RELEASE: New CAP Report: Expanding Medicaid Would Save the Lives of More Than 480 Oklahomans Per Year
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — A new Center for American Progress report quantifies the potential benefits of Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma and the 18 other states that have not yet implemented Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

The report looks at 12 ways that Oklahoma’s failure to expand Medicaid is harming Oklahomans, depriving them of health-related benefits such as additional lives saved and more early cancer diagnoses, as well as nonhealth benefits such as fewer bankruptcies, lower medical debts, and enhanced public safety.

“Our report shows that not expanding Medicaid is literally costing lives,” says Rachel West, director of research for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress. “Every year more than 480 Oklahomans die simply because they live in a state that has chosen not to expand Medicaid. And thousands of Oklahomans face avoidable financial harm solely because Gov. Mary Fallin (R) and the state Legislature refuse to expand Medicaid.”

The report estimates that if Oklahoma were to fully expand Medicaid in 2019, the benefits would include:

  • Additional lives saved per year: 484
  • Additional cancer diagnoses per year: 132
  • Additional early-stage cancer diagnoses per year: 104
  • Bankruptcies prevented per year: 48
  • Reduction in families’ accrued medical debt: $214.4 million
  • Reduction in families’ collection balances: $265.6 million
  • Money kept in families’ pockets from less costly credit per year: $66.2 million
  • Savings to local communities from enhanced public safety per year: $265.2 million

These and other effects are broken down for Oklahoma and other nonexpansion states. Find the figures for your state here.

For more information or to speak to an expert contact, Julia Cusick at or 202-495-3682