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Quotes of the Day

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March 30,

“I am very frustrated with this Legislature. As a Republican, I believe in small government, but I also believe we do have a revenue problem. As chairman of the Human Services Committee for five years, I’ve seen that suffering you talk about, and I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.” 

– Rep. Pat Owenby (R-Ardmore), bringing HB 2342, which would award the state Department of Human Services a $34 million supplemental appropriation, to the House floor. The measure passed unanimously (Source)

March 29,

“The sad thing about this list of budget options is that we serve people who are even more vulnerable. They are not on the list because they are so vulnerable, they would be on the street or their lives would be in danger without services. But we are reaching a point where if we keep cutting so deep, we will get to where we are cutting into child welfare, safety and placement services. Cuts would limit options for placement.”

-Sheree Powell, DHS state communications director, on the cuts the agency would have to make with a flat funding appropriation this year. They include cuts to early childhood school readiness programs, developmental disability programs, child care subsidies, and in-home services for seniors (Source)

March 28,

“If Facebook had existed in 1988, my ‘On This Day’ feature would probably include a post about my first teaching position in Fort Worth — a position I accepted because my beloved home state, Oklahoma, was not adequately funding education. On this day in 2017, nearly 30 years later, it seems that not much has changed.”

-Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist, urging lawmakers to fund schools in order to avoid the “heinous” consequences of further cuts to education (Source)

March 27,

“We’ve got a deficit in this state, and it is not a deficit in resources. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a deficit of will. There are enough resources in this state to do what we need to do with public education, and if the leaders of this state won’t do it, maybe we need to put a Cherokee in charge.”

Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. speaking at the Cherokee Nation’s Annual Public School Appreciation Day.  The Cherokee Nation gave $5 million dollars to Oklahoma public school districts at the event. (Source)

March 24,

“This sort of approach, ‘when things are bad you cut,’ has worked horribly in many businesses. And it’s exactly what we did in the 1930s. We exacerbated the recession. The indifference to the lives of all these people is really pretty impressive.”

– Oklahoma City University economist Jonathan Willner, on the effects of possible staffing cuts at state agencies as a result of the state’s nearly $900 million shortfall (Source)

March 23,

“The new bill expects me to be able to remain insured with a subsidy of $4,000. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that will never happen.”

– Beth, a 61 year-old self-employed woodworker who purchased health coverage with subsidies available through the Affordable Care Act. Under the House Republican health plan, her subsidy would be cut by two-thirds (Source)

March 22,

“You know, we can’t choose which conditions we get, so I don’t know how we can choose which conditions we want to pay for.”

-Autumn Ryan, an advocate for Autism insurance reform, arguing that SB 478, a bill that would allow insurance companies from out of state to sell policies to people and businesses in Oklahoma, would endanger coverage for Autism (Source)

March 21,

“It’s death by a thousand cuts that are not that big, but you put them all together and they are significant. Populations are declining in rural areas and folks in rural communities tend to be older, poorer and sicker than their urban counterparts.”

-Andy Fosmire, vice president for Rural Health at Oklahoma Hospital Association. Nine rural hospitals in the state have filed for bankruptcy since 2011 (Source)
March 20,

“I feel like people would be playing Russian roulette if they (insurers) are arbitrarily left to pick what coverages they want to provide. I don’t think they (proponents of relaxing mandates) understand it’s going to cripple the health care system, put us way back, and ultimately it’s going to be to the detriment of the patients.”

Sam Blackstock, Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Academy of Family Physicians, on the dangers posed by two bills currently under consideration by the Oklahoma Legislature that would allow insurers to offer plans without certain coverage requirements. [Source]

March 17,

“I think it would just be totally devastating. These families would be completely on their own. Our senior citizens that depend on these programs to help with just some of the basic repairs would be gone.”

– Neighborhood Housing Services Oklahoma Executive Director Roland Chupik on President Trump’s proposed federal budget, which would eliminate funding for a number of programs including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps low-income families pay their energy bills, or repair or replace broken furnaces or air conditioners (Source). In SFY 2016, 87,770 Oklahoma households received winter heating assistance and 78,335 households received summer cooling assistance through LIHEAP (Source). 

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