We’re saddened by the stubborn opposition of Oklahoma Republicans like Gov. Mary Fallin and Rep. Markwayne Mullin to the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare). Fallin claims Oklahoma can’t afford to participate in the Medicaid expansion under ACA. In fact, the opposite is true.
Even such stalwart Republican governors as Jan Brewer of Arizona and John Kasich of Ohio have accepted the Medicaid expansion, because they’ve realized that their states and their uninsured citizens can’t afford for them not to do so.
The federal government picks up 100% of the cost of Medicaid expansion for three years. After that, the federal percentage begins to decrease, but even in 2020 the federal government still pays 90% of the cost.
Several recent studies point out that states can’t afford NOT to expand Medicaid, including one by the Commonwealth Fund (reported 12/5/13 in “USA Today”) that finds Oklahoma will lose more than $1 billion by not participating.
The extra federal money spent on Medicaid under ACA goes directly to local health care providers, such as hospitals or physicians, and helps a state’s overall economy, according to Sherry Glied, dean of NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and one of that study’s authors.
“There are no states where the taxpayers would actually gain by not expanding Medicaid,” she concludes. “Taxpayers in states that opt out still will pay for Medicaid expansion efforts in other states without experiencing any of the benefits.”
Under the current system, poor uninsured people either go without needed medical care until conditions become grave and very expensive to treat, or else they get treatment in emergency rooms (the most expensive form of care there is) and that cost is borne by all those who do have insurance.
The current situation is a foolish waste of money, not to mention the burden it places on families of the uninsured.
Gov. Fallin (405-521-2342) and Rep. Mullin (202-225-2701) need to hear from voters in Bryan County, urging them to open their minds enough to consider that the ACA can actually help Oklahomans.
We understand that they don’t like President Obama and oppose anything he favors. But that attitude is neither wise nor patriotic when it comes to solving this huge problem for our citizens, our state, and our country.
We’re still waiting to hear a real alternative to the ACA from Gov. Fallin, Rep. Mullin, and other Republicans who are so vocal in opposing the law. By a real alternative, we mean a plan that covers most people, does away with the “preexisting condition” loophole for insurance companies, and is both affordable and cost-effective.
So far, nothing we’ve heard from any of the ACA’s opponents meets those crucial tests.
Elbert and Marion Hill