Standridge defended Fallin’s rejection of the federal health care money.
“The amount that it would cost us to expand an already broken system is something the state really can’t afford,” Standridge said. “I think the emphasis should be on programs like Insure Oklahoma.”
As a small business owner, Standridge has personal experience with Insure Oklahoma.
“I would like to expand the poverty level of Insure Oklahoma,” he said. “Insure Oklahoma is based on employment. Their benefits are paid through their employer.”
Standridge said the unemployed and extremely poor get help through Medicaid.
“The gap is for the working poor,” he said. “You want them to be employed. Insure Oklahoma is a good program.”
Cleveland said he likes Fallin’s proposal to spend $15 million on mental health.
“We have a mental health problem, and it needs to be addressed. We haven’t been putting money into mental health in the past like we should, and I think that’s important for Oklahoma,” Cleveland said.
“We do have to find a way to help the hospitals,” Standridge said. “I think we need to look and see what their challenges are and try to address those challenges.”
Standridge is on the Health and Human Services Committee and will deal with some health care-related issues.
“I do applaud the governor on making the strong point about tackling prescription drug abuse head on,” he said.
While Standridge has not witnessed increased painkiller prescriptions in his pharmacy in Blanchard or through his pharmaceutical business that serves institutions, he knows abuse is a growing problem.
“I think it’s a serious problem and we definitely have to attack it,” he said. “We need to find out how they’re getting their drugs.”