Oklahoma House of Representatives
November 19, 2012
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Democratic Leader Scott Inman
Capitol: (405) 557-5370
House Democratic Leader Inman’s Comments on Gov. Fallin’s Rejection of Medicaid Expansion
The Oklahoma House of Representatives’ Democratic Leadership releases the following statement in response to Governor Fallin’s decision to reject an expansion of Medicaid and an Oklahoma solution to health care exchanges mandated under the Affordable Care Act:
Democratic Leader Scott Inman (D-Del City) stated: “On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of uninsured Oklahomans; the businesses, doctors and hospitals who are drowning in the costs of their uncompensated care; and the Oklahoma taxpayer who ultimately foots the bill for those uninsured through higher taxes and increased medical costs, House Democratic leaders are deeply disappointed and frustrated that Governor Fallin and Republican Leaders have today decided to play politics with the lives, health care and pocket books of thousands of Oklahoma citizens.
The Governor’s decision will ensure that nearly 200,000 Oklahoma men, women and children will be unable to get the health care they need. Because other states around the country have decided to seek health care coverage for their citizens, Oklahoma Republican leaders have created a situation where Oklahoma tax dollars will be sent to places like Maryland, Rhode Island and California to insure their citizens while the poorest uninsured Oklahomans will continue to go without health insurance.
Likewise, by refusing to revisit the issue of health care exchanges, Governor Fallin has violated one of her principle campaign promises: to do everything in her power to fight federal government interference in the Sooner State. Instead of allowing Oklahomans to establish and create an Oklahoma health care exchange, she and Republican leaders have simply extended the invitation to the Obama administration to come to our state and do it for us. While many in the House Democratic Caucus may not have supported all of the provisions of the new health care law, we are realistic and understand that Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) words ring true. Whether we like it or not, ‘it’s the law of the land.’
We respected Governor Fallin’s decision to wait until after the November Presidential election before moving forward with her plans on the Medicaid expansion, as well as the establishment of the health care exchanges. Presumably, if Governor Romney had prevailed, Oklahoma would have been poised to support the decision our Governor has announced today. However, since the election ended with a vastly different result, we had hoped our state’s leaders would put politics aside and do everything in their power to ensure whatever is established in Oklahoma is done with the control and input of Oklahomans.”
It was recently reported that in order to make her decision, Governor Fallin took a series of public opinion polls to measure the political winds. Inman went on to say, “House Democrats believe leaders shouldn’t govern by sticking one’s finger in the wind, but instead with the knowledge, courage and fortitude to do what’s right, even when it may not be politically popular. It would appear that the Governor and Republican leaders have ignored the uninsured in our state, as well as the conservative Republican business people from the hospital and medical community who vociferously encouraged her to make the right choice. Instead, the focus, it appears, is on protecting their right flank from attack in the next election.”