Many Oklahomans can now get free health care

Dr. Daniel Joyce has been giving out a different type of news to patients at Lawton’s Hearts That Care Clinic.

Joyce, who runs the non-profit free clinic, has been talking to them to see if they’ll be eligible for free health coverage under the state’s Medicaid expansion that took effect Thursday.

Time after time, he’s found many have been shocked — albeit pleasantly so.

“I have one patient who’s been without insurance for about 10 years,” he said. “We got them the information [about Medicaid expansion] and they came back in tears saying ‘I got approved, is this for real?’”

Nearly a year after voters approved State Question 802, health care leaders and patient advocates celebrated Thursday as Medicaid expansion took effect and Oklahoma officially became the 37th state to accept the optional expansion.

This means that hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans who meet the new income eligibility limits — $17,796 for an individual or $36,588 for a family of four — will now be covered under SoonerCare, the state’s Medicaid program.

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