Maybe those damn Yankees find it interesting that our state has one of the nation’s most dismal percentagesof citizens lacking health insurance. Perhaps those highfalutin elitists think it’s ironic that most Oklahomans despise Obamacare almost as much as they despise vegetables and cedar trees. Whatever the reason, The New York Times is the most recent newspaper to explore the state’s relationship with the ACA, following a Washington Post story back in July.
In the Sept. 10 Times, the Old Gray Lady turned its curiosity to Oklahoma, poking the state’s soft belly with a stick to see if would growl or snore at the mention of universal health care.
What it discovered was a bunch of mixed signals. The Times pointed out how Gov. Mary Fallin rejected $54 million in federal funds to establish a mandatory health insurance exchange, even as Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett has quietly used an ACA program called the Prevention and Public Health Fund to forge a healthier populace in the city’s unhealthiest ZIP code, 73111.
“Oklahoma City, run by a Republican mayor, Mick Cornett, has with little notice won federal prevention money through the new law, a surprising source of financing in this deeply conservative Republican state,” the Times reported.
“In addition to the heart program, which offers free medicine and checkups in exchange for taking a health class, the area is getting a new health complex with sports fields and walking trails, and a physical education coordinator for city schools. Public messages against sugary drinks are plastered on buses and benches.”
Oh, Oklahoma, you are a fickle mistress.
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