Friday, July 5, 2013
Endorsing Medicaid Expansion
I have been to emergency rooms several times in Oklahoma hospitals. Our emergency rooms are clogged with uninsured people with simple headaches, sore throats, ear aches, tooth aches, low grade fevers, rashes, insect bites, and minor scrapes and burns. Many only need over the counter medicines for a common cold or a prescription for the flu. They would be better treated at a doctor’s office or a dentist’s office, but they are underemployed, uninsured and can’t afford one. The only place they are sure to get medical attention -- even for minor ailments -- is at an emergency room. Meanwhile, care for people with genuine medical emergencies is delayed and their recovery is prolonged and made more difficult. If the governor and the legislature would accept healthcare expansion, our emergency rooms would not be clogged with people who would be better treated at a doctor’s office or a dentist’s office. If the governor and the legislature would accept healthcare expansion, public expense for the care of the uninsured would be much more cost effective. If the governor and the legislature would accept healthcare expansion, emergency room doctors would be able to spend more time treating people with genuine medical emergencies, recovery times would be shorter and outcomes would be better. If the governor and the legislature would accept healthcare expansion, Oklahomans who have health insurance would no longer be subsidizing expenses for unnecessary emergency room visits by the uninsured. Accepting healthcare expansion is not only the right thing to do and the moral thing to do, it is also the most cost efficient way to keep Oklahoman’s healthy. And that is without saying anything about the hundreds of millions of dollars that the federal government will send us to help defray the cost of healthcare expansion. The Oklahoma Faith & Freedom Network joins the Oklahoma Conference of Churches and the Oklahoma Policy Institute in encouraging Governor Fallin and our Oklahoma state legislators to accept the federal government's medicaid expansion. Failing to expand medicaid coverage in Oklahoma could leave 130,000 Oklahomans without health insurance. We are convinced that the Oklahoma Policy Institute has been providing the best information on the strengths and weaknesses for Oklahoma regarding the Affordable Care Act's expansion of medicaid for the uninsured. Here is a link to a page with links to the resources and information that the Oklahoma Policy Institute has gathered on this issue. We encourage all religious leaders to prayerfully study this issue and then let their voices be heard by taking action to contact the Governor and their state legislators. Here's a link to a resource that will help your voice be heard.