MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 17, 2013

State officials shirk responsibility


— State officials wasted time fighting expansion of Medicaid and now they are wasting taxpayer money trying to find alternatives to make coverage available to roughly 200,000 uninsured Oklahomans.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has voted to spend a half-million dollars to hire a Utah consultant firm to propose ways to insure low-income, working class Oklahomans.

Gov. Mary Fallin chose to ignore setting up an exchange system — mandated by law — and now taxpayers must pay the consequences.

Fallin hoped health care reform would go away if:

• Barack Obama was not re-elected president;

• The Supreme Court of the United States declared it unconstitutional; or

• Congress became Republican-heavy and repealed the law.

None of these things happened.

Unfortunately for taxpayers, Fallin’s administration did not formulate a plan on the off-chance the aforementioned did not occur.

We expect more from our elected leaders.

We expect them to anticipate and have back-up plans ready.

And we expect them to lead by providing answers from within and not farm their responsibilities to outside consultants.

We hope state officials are not just trying to build a wall between them and constituents and pretend they are not responsible when the final solution is announced.

Leaders are elected to lead by finding answers — not distancing themselves from responsibilities or tough decisions.

Voters should remember how officials spent their money.