Oklahoma Health Expert Lauds SCOTUS Decision
OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahomans are anxious to see how Thursday's Supreme Court ruling will change our lives.
The justices upheld most of President Obama's health care law, including the part that requires most Oklahomans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty or "tax", as the court put it.
Time Magazine recently ranked Oklahoma the 48th-healthiest state in America. The key factors that contribute to that ranking are 25 percent of Oklahoma children live in poverty, and a third of adults here are officially obese.
One state health expert News 9 talked to says that what this Supreme Court ruling does is provide a roadmap to better heath for Oklahomans, if they want it.
In 2012, nearly 625,000 Oklahomans don't have health insurance at all. Another 800,000 people are on Medicaid or other such programs help to get any health coverage at all.
Greta Stewart directs Oklahoma's Primary Care Association. It's their job to help get those 1.4 million Oklahomans health care. And those are the people the President's historic health care overhaul targets.
"It's new. It's uncomfortable. Anything as major as this decision and this program, the Affordable Care Act has got to strike fear in people who haven't dealt with it. Based on my 19 years of experience [it is] good for the nation," said Stewart.
Stewart says the new health plan means 400,000 of the 625,000 Oklahomans who currently don't have health insurance, will have it in four years. They'll have it, because the new system will make it much easier for everyone to get health screenings and preventative care.
Critics charge that the new system will be much more expensive for everyone. And Gov. Mary Fallin warns that it could be a lot more expensive.
"Preliminary reports when the federal health care bill was first passed would cost over $500-million for the state of Oklahoma," said Fallin.
"I can't see how it would, because if we start to get care in a timely fashion then it doesn't cost as much. Preventive care is much less expensive," Stewart said.
There's a Presidential election in about four months. Stewart says if President Obama is not re-elected, his health plan is doomed.