Oklahoma is at a pivotal moment. A global pandemic has claimed the lives of 143 Sooners in little more than a month. Oil prices plunged into negative territory for the first time in history, meaning it costs more to store oil right now than to refine it. And, oh yeah, it’s an election year – balloting that not only includes the presidency, Congress and statehouse, but also a consequential Oklahoma ballot initiative that could extend health care to 250,000 working poor in the midst of the coronavirus threat.
In this week’s Observercast – Episode 11: Medicaid Meets The Ballot Box – we take a deep dive into this early 21st Century cataclysm, hoping to make sense of it so we can come out the other side in the best shape possible.
Our guests are Amber England, who’s directing the Yes on 802 Medicaid expansion campaign, and Nicole McAfee, the ACLU of Oklahoma’s director of policy and advocacy. They take us inside the vortex of a public health emergency and economic crisis that threatens not only lives, but also the state’s already frayed social safety net and the ability of all Oklahomans to safely vote in what may well be the most critical series of elections in generations.