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Oklahoma Deserves Better

January 26, 2013

Are you a DINO (Democrat in Name Only), RINO (Republican in Name Only) or IINO (Independent in Name Only)? If you proclaim yourself to be an Independent in Name Only you are, at most, either moderately conservative or liberal in your views of government. Voting in a State election as a Democrat, then Republican for a Federal Office or vice-versa does neither your state nor the nation any justice.

If the Democrats are too Liberal, or the Republicans too Conservative, we may need to change the Oklahoma Constitution so a third or fourth party can be formed. Not only would that give everyone a chance to vote in the Primary Elections, it would, with the right wording, remove the one size fits all “check box” at the top of each party’s list of candidates. It would be refreshing for the voters to have the opportunity to not only investigate the person running for office, but look at each candidate‘s platform.

With the 3,000+ bills that have been filed in the Oklahoma legislative halls this 2013 term, all of us are being required to follow the positive issues through to adoption while hoping the negative proposals are discarded along the way. These legislative attempts range from renewed action to eliminate the state income tax, another legislative attempt to redefine personhood (unsuccessful in the 2012 legislature), several competing measures to overhaul the state Workers Compensation Regulations, and a couple of measures to further restrict one’s ability to collect unemployment benefits.

Sadly, there are no rules, regulations or laws currently being contemplated, providing guidelines for the governor and the legislature, to establish an Expanded Medicaid Plan or a working State Insurance Exchange as outlined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act…

With Oklahoma’s unemployment rate one of the lowest in the nation, there is little attention being paid to the overall state of our economy. The inequity of economic standards in Oklahoma, due in large part to the “right to work” law, is causing thousands of Oklahoman’s to be ineligible for assistance through Medicaid even if they are working. Expansion of Oklahoma’s present Medicaid Plan would include them! It was reported by the Oklahoma Policy Institute that to afford a three bedroom house, an individual must earn at least $12.42 per hour. With the federal minimum wage at $7.25, an individual being paid $7.25 per hour would be required to work one job full-time plus another at three-fourths-of-the-time. And let’s consider the jobs that do not even pay the minimum wage. (Have you ever asked your dinner server about his/her base wage per hour?)

Failing to expand Medicaid affects individuals who, over 26 years old, are returning to a school of higher education to be retrained for a new career. These individuals have to work full-time or at least part-time at low paying jobs which do not carry any insurance. Their costs-of-living and school expenses do not leave them with the money needed for insurance.

It has been said by doctors and economists that expanding Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act won’t cost the State of Oklahoma anything at all for the first three years. Beginning with the fourth year, the total cost to the state will be only 3% of the total costs of expansion, then rise until the maximum cost to Oklahoma reaches 10% of the total costs in 2020.

We need to keep a fire burning under our representatives. DO NOT let this opportunity to provide adequate health care for all our citizenry slip away! Bring Oklahoma’s social inequity up to a level which is at least above the poverty level.

We don’t need additional cuts in income taxes which will create a greater burden on the impoverished with a raise in sales tax. We don’t need current tax codes replaced with flat-rate systems. That, too, will affect the lower-wage-earners far more than the wealthy!

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