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TAKE ACTION: Submit a comment by Friday to protect SoonerCare for thousands of Oklahoma families

Quotes of the Day

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“We also know that in three years, 9,000 teachers are eligible for retirement so it’s not just a one-time fix. But ultimately over the course of the next several years if we don’t make some of these needed changes, we’re going to be facing an even worse situation that we’re currently in right now.”

-Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City,  who is seeking to put a state question on the ballot that would allow legislators to return to teaching immediately after leaving office. Currently they are prohibited from accepting any job paid with state dollars for the first two years after leaving. [Source: KFOR]

“As a pediatrician, I fear the ramifications of work requirements on my families. I fear for my patients in rural Oklahoma, where job opportunities are scarce but where more people depend on SoonerCare. I fear for my single mothers who could be forced into suboptimal childcare solutions to try to work more hours. I fear for a father, once the head of the household and now unemployed and unable to work after a massive stroke. And I fear for my pediatric patients with chronic illnesses who may not be disabled but who require constant care from a parent.”

-Edmond pediatrician Savannah Stumph, writing about Oklahoma’s push to terminate SoonerCare coverage for parents who don’t correctly report their work hours. [Source: NewsOK] You can make a public comment on this proposal through Friday, Jan. 18 by going to oksays.com.

“For years, rural, suburban, and urban parents across Oklahoma have been united in their request for an investment in public education. We want to build on the first steps which were taken during the last legislative session and look forward to working with our elected leaders to create the education system every Oklahoma student deserves.”

Jenks school board member Melissa Abdo, speaking about the new Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee that is uniting grassroots parent organizations across the state [Source: Tulsa World]

“On the very day that a new governor is taking the oath of office, wanting to move Oklahoma forward into a new economic era, Washington, D.C., is throwing him a dead dog, telling him, ‘We’re not going to pay thousands and thousands of your constituents.’”

-Dave Spero, a furloughed Federal Aviation Administration technician who was among those picketing outside the Oklahoma City airport to warn travelers of the effects of the government shutdown [Source: NewsOK]

“Because Oklahoma is a state that has not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the adults that they’re talking about here — although they don’t usually describe them this way — they’re parents, and they’re very poor parents, the most vulnerable families in Oklahoma.”

-Center for Children and Families Executive Director Joan Alker, speaking about her group’s new estimate that up to 13,000 Oklahomans would lose health insurance under Oklahoma’s proposed Medicaid work and reporting requirements [Source: Public Radio Tulsa]

“State policy has knowingly created an underclass of people — mostly employed in low-wage jobs — who can’t afford to get sick. They don’t earn enough for ‘Obamacare’ subsidies and they don’t qualify for Medicaid, which Oklahoma essentially reserves for children, pregnant women, the aged and the disabled. Thus, more than a third of your neighbors had to make the wrong medical choice last year because they just couldn’t afford to do anything else.”

-Tulsa World Editorial Editor Wayne Green, writing about how Oklahoma’s policy of denying coverage to the poor magnifies eventual health crises and costs [Source: Tulsa World]

“You would think in the United States, with the sophistication of our healthcare system, that we would not have this issue.”

-Barbara O’Brien, director of the Office of Perinatal Quality Improvement at OUHSC, speaking about the rising number of deaths from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications in Oklahoma [Source: KTUL]

“People are having to make judgments between whether they go to jail or pay fines or acquire the very basic necessities of life.”

-James Hinds, a Tulsa lawyer who is part of a group working to reform Oklahoma’s reliance on fines and fees to fund the court system [Source: Tulsa World]

“Oklahoma has among the highest car insurance rates and highest percentages of uninsured drivers in the nation. The two are indelibly linked. The catalyst for both is the state’s low wages, which hinder Oklahomans’ ability to pay.”

Journal Record Editorial

“As we look to this new year, and we make personal resolutions — I challenge you to make one to remain engaged and support our legislators on issues important to us. For me, I want to continue to share my voice as an educator in the state and keep an eye on bills related to education. The voice of people of Oklahoma is not about two weeks pacing in front of the Capitol with signs, but sustained engagement with our elected officials.”

-University of Oklahoma education professor Theresa Cullen [Source: Tulsa World]