March 18, 2014
For Immediate Release
Contact: Trav Robertson
MARY FALLIN’S NON-TRANSPARENCY ON HEALTH CARE
Fallin Claims Illegal Executive Privilege to Block Release of Health Care Records
Oklahoma City – Gov. Mary Fallin is using illegal and unheard-of tactics to cover up the release of 31 records related to her decision to reject Medicaid expansion and not create a state health-care exchange under the Affordable Care Act, according to Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Wallace Collins.
“The public has a right to know why this Governor chose to not help those who need health insurance and accept Oklahomans’ money back from the federal government. Fallin claims to be open and transparent but she hides from and denies Freedom of Information requests,” said Collins.
Fallin has claimed executive privilege to stop the records from being released, resulting in a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Associated Press, and the website The Lost Ogle. Legal experts have pointed out that executive privilege is not anywhere in the state’s Open Records Act, the state constitution, or in Oklahoma case law. She is now claiming that she will release the records only after she leaves office, which no previous Governor has ever done.
Said Collins, “It’s unfortunate enough that reporters and the ACLU have to go to court to force what Fallin should be doing anyways. What’s even worse is that she is using a legal assertion that doesn’t exist and an unprecedented maneuver to cover up the records. Again, what is she hiding? Is it that she does not want us to see how she cares more about pleasing partisans from her own party than the best interests of Oklahomans?”
A recent study by the American Mental Health Counselors Association revealed that more than 113,000 Oklahomans with serious mental health and substance use conditions are left without health care coverage because of Fallin’s rejection of the Medicaid dollars. “These people certainly have a right to see her records explaining why she failed them and continues to place politics over people,” Collins said.
Concluded Collins, “These health care records are just another case of how far this Governor will go to keep Oklahomans in the dark, and why we need someone in the Governor’s Office who will bring openness back to state government.”
Continuing its week-long look into Fallin’s two-time Black Hole “Award”-winning record on her failure to allow access to records, the Oklahoma Democratic Party will look at how Fallin has obstructed the documents request by Take Shelter Oklahoma regarding school storm shelters.