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In a recent poll conducted by SoonerPoll, 53 percent of likely Oklahoma voters indicated that they would support a proposal to levy a $50 fee on Medicaid enrollees that smoke. The poll also revealed that 38.3 percent of likely Oklahoma voters polled would oppose such a proposal, while 8.7 percent had no opinion.

Jason Sutton, Health Care Policy Analyst at the Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs, said these results show that Oklahomans recognize that unhealthy behaviors drive health costs to unsustainable limits.

“What Oklahomans are saying is that citizens who lead an unhealthy lifestyle in which they engage in unhealthy behavior should be held accountable when it comes to receiving tax payer subsidized health insurance,” Sutton said. “Oklahomans want Medicaid enrollees to have some skin in the game.”

OCPA’s Jason Sutton on Medicaid Fees

SoonerPoll’s Wesley Burt asks Jason Sutton, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs Health Care Policy Analyst, about his take on the latest SoonerPoll results concerning a proposal to levy a fee on smokers who recieve Medicaid.

 

The question comes at a time when many states face Medicaid budget cuts while many of their citizens continue to enroll in the program. In April, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer put forward a similar proposal that also extends a $50 fee to both enrollees who smoke and overweight enrollees.

Sutton said that Oklahoma, like many other states, faces a situation similar to Arizona’s as the state’s Medicaid enrollment continues to increase, reaching unsustainable levels.

“The real benefit of extending a fee on unhealthy behavior has less to do with the monetary value of the fee collected and more to do with creating incentives for change.” Sutton said. “If you incentivize people by requiring some cost sharing on unhealthy behaviors then you will see less people engaging in these unhealthy behaviors, which, in the long run, will lower costs for the entire system.”

Crosstab analysis reveals bi partisan support as the percentage of Republicans and Democrats who would support such a proposal is within margin of error. When results are examined by party label it is revealed that conservatives are 10 points more likely to support the proposal than liberals with 54 and 44 percent respectively.

Crosstab analysis indicates no corresponding pattern between income and support. The results do reveal that 55.5 percent of those who make less than $35,000 a year, the most likely to be Medicaid users, would support the proposal.

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, was commissioned for this poll by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. SoonerPoll.com conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 509 likely voters from May 2 – 12. The study has a margin of error of ± 4.34 percent.

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Oklahoma City – A recent SoonerPoll shows most Oklahomans say they want tougher smoke free laws that protect them from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Results show that 71 percent of Oklahomans favor eliminating all indoor smoking in public places, with 56% of respondents saying that they strongly favor a statewide smoke free law.

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 1000 likely voters from Feb. 25 – March 8. This particular question was commissioned by the Oklahoma Smoke Free Coalition. The study has a margin of error of ± 3.1 percent.

To see complete charts and figures pertaining to this poll, click here

Secondhand smoke has proven to increase risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, and many respiratory illnesses. 29 other states have adopted comprehensive smoking laws and taken steps to protect their workers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Smoke Free Oklahoma is working with lawmakers to make Oklahoma the 30th state to adopt a similar law.

Results show an overwhelming majority, 94% of Oklahoma voters believe secondhand smoke is a health hazard, with 62.4% believing it is a serious health hazard.

With that in mind, 70.1 percent of Oklahoma voters strongly believe the customers and employees right to breathe clean air in restaurants and bars is more important than the rights of smokers to smoke inside and owners to allow smoking inside restaurants and bars.

The results show that implementation of smoke free laws would not adversely affect commerce, 73.6 percent of Oklahomans and 71.6 percent of smokers will still go out to bars and restaurants as often if smoke free legislation is passed. Nearly 20 percent of respondents said they would go out more often if smoke free legislation were passed.

“As you can see from the polling, Oklahomans know the dangers of second hand smoke and are ready to make Oklahoma a healthier state by making it the 30th state to go smoke free,” Marilyn Davidson, Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association, said.

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