Letters to the Editor: April 1, 2014 

According to Oklahoma Policy Institute, Fallin has refused to expand Medicaid coverage to 131,000 lowincome Oklahomans. She said no to federal government funding for 100 percent of Oklahomans’ expanded coverage for the first three years, which would have been followed by a gradual reduction of cost coverage to 90 percent by 2020 and thereafter.

Since Fallin has passed up an offer like this, we Oklahomans continue paying federal taxes, but our tax money will go to pay for health care in other states. That tax money will amount to almost $1.3 million by 2022, according to The Huffington Post.

Oklahomans get sicker, die sooner and go without much-needed health care at some of the highest rates in the nation. Those without health insurance hold off going to the doctor when they get sick. Instead, they wait until they are so bad they end up in the emergency room, which is enormously expensive for us taxpayers.

So Fallin’s ruthless refusal to expand Medicaid is both economically and morally wrong. What would she say if she had to face low-income Oklahomans whose lives are so affected by not having health care coverage?

— Wanda Jo Stapleton
Oklahoma City
Stapleton is a former Democratic state representative.

There she goes again
Oklahoma faces a huge $171 million shortfall in state funding, but Gov. Fallin is urging an “over $100 million” tax cut after the state Supreme Court nixed the last one, ruling that funding Capitol repairs and a tax cut really were two different subjects. She imperiously refuses to allow Oklahomans to vote on a statewide bond issue to protect school children from tornadoes because we “can’t afford” it but demands a tax cut and a $120 million bond to gold plate our stinky Capitol shack.

The nonpartisan Tax Foundation reports that we plunged from the 18th most Business Friendly state in 2009 to 36th today. She gushes on TV about how we are famous for “taking care of our own,” but we rank 48th in the nation in the availability of long-term care for seniors and the disabled, 43rd for child well-being, last in the nation in overall health rankings related to disease and mortality, 47th in teacher salaries. ... And lead the nation in cuts to education under Fallin.

Fallin does take care of her friends.

She gave the Oklahoma state tourism director a $40,000 pay raise and a $47,000 hike for the OSBI director. Fallin’s Ethics Commission even recommended a 500 percent increase in the amount in meals and gifts that a lobbyist can give legislators.

Despite the fact that we are one of the lowest spending states in the nation, she talks about “the necessity to continue to reduce the size of state government,” asking for $47.7 million in cuts to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, $37 million for DHS and $49.4 million to higher education. We are already $572 million below 2009 funding levels.

David Boren called her budget a “tragic mistake” and “very damaging to the future of the state.” Amen.

— D.W. Tiffee

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