The Latest: Oklahoma court weighs challenge to grow Medicaid
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Latest on a legal challenge to an effort to collect signatures for a public vote on whether to expand Medicaid to tens of thousands of low-income people in Oklahoma (all times local):
The Oklahoma Supreme Court is weighing arguments on a legal challenge to a plan to collect signatures for a public vote on whether to expand Medicaid.
The state's highest court heard from lawyers Tuesday on a proposal supporters say would add about $1 billion in federal funding a year into the state's health care system and help provide medical coverage to low-income Oklahomans who don't have health insurance.
Attorney Travis Jett of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, which is bringing the challenge, urged justices to disqualify the proposal. Jett argued that the petition is inaccurate and could perpetrate deceit and fraud.
An attorney for supporters, Melanie Rughani, says the petition is accurate and urged justices to permit it to move forward to the signature-gathering stage.
The court didn't say when it will issue a ruling.
A group seeking a public vote on whether to expand Medicaid to tens of thousands of low-income Oklahomans first must clear a legal challenge spearheaded by a conservative think-tank that has long opposed the idea.
A hearing is scheduled Tuesday before the Oklahoma Supreme Court on whether the group can proceed with gathering the nearly 178,000 signatures they will need to get the question on the ballot.
The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs think-tank is challenging the proposal, arguing the proposed ballot language doesn't accurately describe what the measure does.
Supporters say the plan will infuse nearly $1 billion annually into the state's health care system and provide coverage to low-income Oklahomans. Opponents argue the state's share of the 9-to-1 federal match is too costly and could be increased later.
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