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Governor Fallin, The Time Is Now

August 23, 2013

This article was submitted to the Duncan OK Banner but not published.

GOVERNOR FALLIN, THE TIME IS NOW!

Our state’s legislators seem more concerned about tort reform than they are about the health and welfare of their constituents. With a stroke of the pen, Governor Fallin called the legislators back into session to try to fix a tort (lawsuit) bill that has already been declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL by the courts. It will cost an estimated $30,000.00 per day  (total $900,000), for a 30-day tort session when ALL of the tort legislation could be accomplished in a day.  Instead, it has been decided that each small segment of the original, unconstitutional bill shall be rewritten into a bill of its own, then called to the floor for a vote and, when passed, forwarded for the Governor’s signature. 

She should have reconvened the legislature to Expand Medicaid and set up our state-run Health Insurance Exchange. 29 of the next 30 days should be spent establishing the framework for a state-operated-and-managed Insurance On-line Market Place, accepting federal funds allocated to us for, and implementing the Expansion of, Oklahoma’s current Medicaid (aka “Sooner Care”).  Amazingly, Insurance Director Doaks (along with the Oklahoma Attorney General, under direction of the Governor) has frivolously spent millions more than this recall session of the legislature will cost trying to dismiss the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Director Doaks does not believe the On-line Market Place – which WILL eventually be set up in accordance with the Affordable Care Act – “will meet the standards his department requires.” 

The On-line Market Place has already proved beneficial to those states which have proactively adopted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and established their Health Insurance Exchanges.  The states in which private insurance premiums have continued to increase are those states that are “dragging their healthcare feet.”

 

The Federal Health and Human Services has already granted awards to three Oklahoma agencies to hire and train persons as “Navigators”.  These Navigators will guide enrolling citizens through necessary procedures and selections of health plans that meet the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and fit individual needs.

Navigators will receive 20-30 hours of training for certifications with additional training during the year.  They will have to renew their certifications annually.

Information furnished to these Navigators will be treated in the same way the records of a doctor’s office are handled, with absolute privacy.

With some small business owners  (employing 50 people or less) cutting their employees to less than 30 hours per week, it is imperative for Oklahoma to come to the table,  expand Medicaid and  insure that those employees have access to some form of health care outside the hospital emergency room.

NOTE:  Employees of small businesses are eligible to obtain subsidized health care through the On-line Market Place without a penalty to the small business owner. To do so, however, a single employee must have an annual income of more than $15,302 and income for a family of four more than $31,155 to qualify for health insurance through the On-line Market Place. If one’s income is below these levels, your only healthcare alternative is the hospital emergency room if still available.

The lack of health care coverage for the segment of  our population earning less than the amounts shown above, thus not qualifying for a health care policy through the Market Place,  is EXACTLY WHY we need our lawmakers to stop wasting money on frivolous lawsuits and EXPAND MEDICAID!  Don’t attempt to de-fund the Patient Protection and Affordable Act.  That is unlawful!  That will only create problems with the law; and it will cause undue hardship on the people that law was meant to serve.

The title says it all, The Patient PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE Care Act!

What the opponents to the Affordable Care Act must do is STOP POLITICKING about the people’s healthcare needs and START PROVIDING protection for the underserved of our state!

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