The Norman Transcript


September 13, 2013

Several issues are critical to welfare



3. Health care: Oklahoma ranks among the five worst states in the nation for the percentage of our citizens who cannot afford medical insurance and cannot access preventative services. DHS social workers’ caseloads are among the heaviest in America. In addition, Oklahoma has a waiting list of more than 5,000 people with developmental disabilities critically in need of residential-based care.

4. Mental health: At a time when Oklahoma soldiers are returning home needing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and the number of addicts and alcoholics needing treatment are at an all-time high, Oklahoma mental health inpatient and outpatient facilities stand abandoned and those that are still open are understaffed and under-funded.

5. Criminal justice: Tough-on-crime laws make great headlines, but experience indicates that they are ill-advised. We are so busy locking up drug users and other people we are mad at that we have to release the really dangerous people we should be afraid of: murderers, rapists, abusers and child beaters.

These and several other issues are really critical to the health and welfare of the residents of Oklahoma and are worthy of a special legislative session.

Instead, we have squandered $150,000-plus passing non-critical tort reform. Of course, this is my opinion. I could be wrong.

Bill Huntington lives in Norman.

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