To the editor:
In recent years, rural towns in Oklahoma have seen a wave of hospital closures, forcing Oklahomans across the state to seek health care farther and farther away from home and robbing our communities of jobs and tax money.
In fact, recent news coverage told the story we all know too well of the plight of the remaining small Oklahoma hospitals. Investigative reporting by The Frontier, a Tulsa-based media nonprofit, showed how predatory outside management companies swoop in and promised financial salvation to troubled rural hospitals, only to close their doors after too many broken promises. As a life-long Oklahoman and someone who taught in a nearby rural community, I’ve seen this healthcare access erode over the last several years first-hand.
But Oklahomans have an answer to this problem on the June 30th ballot that will help our communities and our local hospitals while providing better access to the health care we all deserve. We can bring back our taxpayer dollars to our local communities by voting “Yes” on State Question 802, which will expand Medicaid to adults below a certain income level.
Medicaid expansion will bring more than $1 billion in our taxpayer money back into Oklahoma and create nearly 30,000 jobs in our state. Most importantly, it may mean the difference in being able to reach life-saving care for our friends and family in rural communities.
I feel fortunate to be here in Stillwater with an excellent hospital, but my friends and family all over the state are far less likely to have access to care if we do not take this step. Further, we don’t know what the future holds, particularly in these difficult times, and the hospital we save may be our own.
Vote “yes” on SQ 802.