While Governor Fallin’s State of the State message seemed by some to be a strong endorsement of the economic status of Oklahoma, it left a large portion of our population out in the cold. She insists the state cannot afford to expand Medicaid to individuals and families that fall short of qualifying for Oklahoma’s non-existent Insurance Exchange Program. Even though Oklahoma has a program called “Insure Oklahoma,” there is still an unemployed section of the population that does not have access to this plan. The Oklahoma legislators are attempting to ensure that everybody is “pulling their weight” by decreeing that if one is not employed (working) and earning a paycheck ,one is ineligible for assistance. This one-size-fits-all is a feeble attempt to satisfy those who believe that anyone who needs assistance is “lazy and no-good.” It does not take into account people who are unemployed due to company downsizings, company relocations or just closing doors and blaming the economy.
To push Oklahoma’s health problems squarely onto the backs of our people shows a lack of compassion for the citizens of the state. This government has not given many of Oklahoma’s people a reason to “feel good” about themselves. Working long hours for minimum wage or less is not a wholesome incentive to pay attention to oneself. The Tulsa World on January 30, 2013, reported, “The 2013 Assets and Opportunities Scoreboard revealed: 23% of jobs in Oklahoma are low-wage positions, ranking the state 46th (nationally) in wages.”
The governor’s comment about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act being “sick care” is ridiculous. If she would take the time to read even the basic parts of the Affordable Care Act, she would find it is dedicated to wellness through preventive examinations and/or counseling.
In a news release by Wallace Collins, Chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party he asked, “Is it hypocrisy to gladly take federal dollars for drought relief, wild fires, tornadoes, floods, or education, but not for Medicaid?” He went on to say, “Oklahoma is willing to improve our roads and bridges with federal money. Why not do the same for people’s health? Those are Oklahoma tax dollars being sent to DC. Why not bring them back to help sick and ailing Oklahomans?” He also noted that Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, a very vocal voice against the Health Care Act said, “My concerns about the Affordable Care Act are well-known, but it is the law of the land. With this expansion, Arizona can leverage nearly $8,000,000,000 (8 Billion Dollars) in federal funds over four years, save or protect thousands of quality jobs and protect our critical rural and safety-net hospitals!”
Oklahoma could fare well if Governor Fallin had accepted the $54 Million Dollars the federal government offered to set up the Insurance Exchange Program and use the Half Million Dollars she wants to spend on “studying a State Health Insurance Exchange” for the benefit of Oklahoma’s sick and needy!