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With Fate Of Healthcare Unclear, So Is Fate Of Oklahomans On SoonerCare

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BY: GRANT HERMES, NEWSON6.COM 

Many Oklahomans say they're worried about how the Republican health care bill could affect their quality of life.

Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office say 22 million people would lose coverage under the new bill.

And here in Oklahoma, worries of lost care are very real.

Protest outside Senator James Lankford's office took place Wednesday. Oklahomans with disabilities looked to make their voices heard.

They protested the U.S. senate's Better Care Reconciliation Act, which would cut billions of dollars from Medicaid and Medicare over the next decade.

In Oklahoma, those programs are run by what's known as SoonerCare.

Lankford has yet to address concerns over the bill but said in a tweet: "We won't vote on healthcare this week. But, I'll continue pursuing reform that's affordable for Okies of all health conditions and income levels."

According to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, SoonerCare covered more than 840,000 people last year; two-thirds of those were children.

It's also used by people in every stage of life.

More than half of all births and more than two-thirds of all long-term care stays were covered by SoonerCare last year.

Oklahoma spends roughly $5 billion annually on SoonerCare. Much of that money is matched with federal dollars.

In the past, Oklahoma has opted not to take on federal money for state programs.

The healthcare bill is still undergoing revision, but Senate Leader Mitch McConnell expects to have a new draft by Thursday.   

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