They must be. There can be no other explanation for such pig-headed, cavalier and selfish behavior on their part concerning the 10-year saga of opposition to ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion.
Oh, there is one other possibility too painful for me to take seriously but I must. It is pure, partisan politics for over a decade that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars in lost health care services and ended too early the lives of thousands more. Sad but true.
From 2011 until now, legislators have not been swayed by a plethora of horrible health indicators in our state or the fact that our Medicaid match only requires a contribution of 10% by Oklahoma, just like highway matching funds, defense outlays and so much other federal largesse they so gladly accept, gobble up and take credit for.
In what is even more compelling, and just now new evidence as to why our lawmakers should immediately accept Medicaid expansion, is this: Because we remain among the Dirty Dozen of states that have never fully or even remotely taken advantage of ObamaCare for Oklahomans, an additional incentive to do so was placed in the just passed American Rescue Plan and is now law.
It increases to 95% from 90% the federal share of Medicaid spending for a two-year period and it is not chump change. It will add $500 million in federal outlays when our lawmakers simply do their job by accepting the dictates of SQ 802, passed last June by a vote of the people and which basically said in layman’s language: “We’re dying out here and through the initiative petition process we direct you to spend our billions of tax money here rather than in other states as has occurred over the last 11 years … and do it without further delay or excuses.”
So what now? The Legislature has six weeks left in the current session to do what voters directed them to do and that is provide health insurance and care to an additional 200,000 working poor and children. Its failure to do so would violate the constitutional mandate directed by their bosses – the citizens – and also throw an additional $500 million more into the trash can of history.
Surely for once, and finally, they will set aside their Obama bias and do the right thing which is the opposite of the far, far right agenda they have so wrongly been wedded to for so long.
We’ll see. You can do your part by calling House and Senate members to express your support for the mandates expressed in SQ 802. The phone number of the Senate switchboard is 405.524.0126 and the House exchange is 405.521.2711. In both cases just ask for your lawmaker[s], and politely yet firmly tell them your position on the future of health care in desperately sick and getting sicker Oklahoma. After all, your life and those of your family members may be at stake.
Don’t make my head explode again. Make that call.