Years of income tax cuts and growing corporate subsidies intended to make the state more business-friendly instead have destroyed Oklahoma's financial foundations.
Oklahoma's Medicaid agency has warned doctors and other health care providers of cuts of up to 25 percent in what the state pays under Medicaid.
"We are nearing a colossal collapse of our health care system in Oklahoma," warned Craig Jones, the president of the Oklahoma Hospital Association, which represents more than 135 hospitals and health care systems in the state. "We have doctors turning away patients. We have people with mental illnesses who are going without treatment. Hospitals are closing, and this is only going to get worse this summer if the Legislature does not act immediately to turn this around."We're not just seeing a turnaround here on thinking about Obamacare, but this: "GOP leaders are considering a tax hike to cover the state's share of the costs." A tax hike ($1.50-per-pack tax on cigarettes)! For health care! That's how dire the situation is in Oklahoma, where hospitals—particularly rural ones—are on the verge of shutting down.
At one hospital, McCurtain Memorial Hospital, 96 percent of children born there are covered by Medicaid. A 25 percent cut "would shutter our doors for good, leaving 33,000 people without access to health care," says hospital CEO Jahni Tapley. It's not just hospitals, but also nursing homes, because a large chunk of Medicaid funding in every state goes to long-term care for the needy elderly.
Of course, Fallin isn't calling it an "expansion," saying instead that it "transitions 175,000 Medicaid enrollees to the private insurance market." Which is true, but it does so by bringing the current working poor who are uninsured into the Medicaid system and thus getting all that federal money. No matter what she calls it, the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity is going to fight it. They are actively campaigning against it, beginning with a "NobamaCare" event at the state capital.
But Saint Ronnie Raygun told us, if we cut taxes on wealthy people and on corporations, they'll put the tax savings into new jobs and we'll all live in paradise. George Bush II said the same thing. And this same idea is Holy Writ for the Tea Party. You mean . . . they are lying??
And -- if you think Oklahoma is bad, check out the financial disasters in Kansas and Wisconsin, both of which followed ReaganBushTeaPartyonomics.