MEDICAID EXPANSION RALLY HEALTH CARE

People attend a rally for Medicaid and health care coverage expansion at the Capitol in Oklahoma City on April 24. Supporters of Medicaid expansion are working to circulate an initiative petition to get the issue on the ballot in Oklahoma. NATE BILLINGS/The Oklahoman file

Here are some frightening medical statistics to consider:

ConsumerProtect.com says Oklahoma was the third most obese state in the nation in 2017. More than 36 percent of the state’s adult population is obese. The national average is 30.1%.

• Only nine states have higher rates of smoking among their adult population. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures estimate that 20.1% of the state’s adult population uses cigarettes.

• Between 2006 and 2012, drug manufacturers shipped the equivalent of 54 opioid pills per person every year to Oklahoma, according to records obtained by The Washington Post. The state had the sixth highest concentration of the addictive drugs in the nation.

As a state, we’re too fat, we smoke too much and we use too many pills.

It’s killing us.

Oklahoma’s health outcomes are No. 47 in the nation and getting worse, according to America’s Health Rankings. We’re No. 45 in cancer deaths, No. 48 in cardiovascular deaths, No. 43 in diabetes, No. 43 in infant mortality and No. 44 in premature death.

We wonder if all those sick and dying Oklahomans, all those people who know that the pills and the cigarettes and the diabetes are shortening their lives but can’t seem to get their problems under control, could use some help from a physician. Maybe a weight-loss program, help getting their diabetes under control or some smoking cessation.

It seems likely, but there’s the catch: Oklahoma has the second highest rate of uninsured adults in the nation. And people who don’t have insurance, don’t see doctors until it’s too late.

A recent American Journal of Medicine story reports that 85% of insured Americans see their doctors regularly. Only 40% of uninsured Americans see doctors regularly.

All of these Oklahoma problems have a common solution: Medicaid expansion.

For a state cost of 10 cents on the dollar, the federal government will underwrite health care for the 20 percent of the state’s adult working poor population that has no insurance.

Our neighbors are dying all around us, and we aren’t taking the obvious step to prevent it because we’re afraid of “Obamacare.”

Subscribe to Daily Headlines

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.