The Norman Transcript


April 24, 2014

Health care needs have reached critical stage

NORMAN — Once again, the Republican-led Oklahoma legislators are leaving Oklahoma’s neediest in the dust with their proposed 2014-2015 budget.

Studies by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services project a steep decline in services for a wide section of Oklahoma’s most needy. (You do not need to be on public assistance to need the services of these two state agencies.) Not one attempt is being made to provide assistance in keeping projected cuts from happening to these critical state agencies.

The Oklahoma Healthcare Authority has compiled a list of measures it must take to address cuts to their budget for Fiscal Year 2015. Included are:

· Eliminating all optional medical benefits — including adult dental care, foot care, eye care, physical therapy and hearing, as well as medical supplies such as wheelchairs and diabetic supplies for a $10 million state savings.

· Coverage limitations for prescription drugs, doctor and hospital visits, other services and copayment rate increases with required prior authorization for certain patient services for a savings of $89 million.

· Lowering rates of reimbursement to providers who serve Medicaid patients. (A 1 percent, across-the-board provider rate cut would generate $8.9 million.) This means that cuts of approximately 9 percent would need to be made to address the $90 million shortfall. (The policy of provider-care-rate cuts has been hotly contested at the federal level.)

Any of these cuts just pushes the costs further down the road because people will delay medical attention until a critical stage is reached. What is sad is that the $90 million shortfall in state funding is simply a part of, and does not address, the $373.7 million in total cuts faced because of the loss of federal matching funds. (The loss of said matching funds is due to Gov. Mary Fallin and the legislature refusing to endorse the Medicaid portion of the Affordable Care Act.)

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • James Garner will be missed

    Editor, The Transcript: Norman native son James Garner was a fine actor on stage, screen and television. I enjoyed the “Maverick” TV series and, in particular, the 1959 episode “The Strange Journey of Jenny Hill” in which the very popular ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Change some lines

    Editor, The Transcript: Looking at how our elected Republican friends are reacting to the refugee children crossing the border and now being housed in Lawton, I have a suggestion. Let’s edit the Christian Bible in several places to reflect ...

    July 21, 2014

  • New health care system demonized

    To the Editor: In October 2013, soon after we were asked to take over management responsibilities at our family business, we were visited by the company’s health insurance agent. She explained that a decision needed to be made regarding ...

    July 21, 2014

  • The longer the wait, the higher the cost

    Editor, The Transcript: Thanks for the great article of July 3 on the Norman chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby group that recently went to D.C. as citizen lobbyists, working to get a revenue-neutral carbon pollution fee, refunded in ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Natural beauty makes way for parking

    Editor, The Transcript: In support and response to an editorial in The Transcript on June 28 by Pam McIntosh, I am writing this article. In the early ‘70s, many years ago, I lived in what was known as the Sooner Mobile Home Park on South ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Trees do job too well

    Editor, The Transcript: State Rep. Richard Morissette should stick to the concrete and asphalt world, where all of nature has already been killed and people live in fear of living things. Leave our beautiful cedar trees alone....

    July 20, 2014

  • Young people barred from education

    Editor, The Transcript: State universities were created to be the avenue of middle class opportunity in America....

    July 20, 2014

  • Common Core fallacies

    Editor, The Transcript: The article ‘Radioactive’ that discussed Common Core (Transcript, July 14) quotes the fallacy from Republican governors that Common Core is a Federal program; it is not. Many conservatives, especially those labeled ...

    July 19, 2014

  • A pattern is emerging

    Editor, The Transcript: Over the past several weeks, three seemingly unrelated events caught my attention. First, near the end of the legislative session, the House and Senate passed with much fanfare and publicity legislation giving ...

    July 12, 2014

  • Voting for our priorities

    Editor, The Transcript: Ok, let me see if I’ve got this straight. When the federal government ended its program of providing $13-$16 million in surplus equipment each year to fire departments, our state and congressional leaders ...

    July 11, 2014