Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tough Future Likely Ahead for Health-Care Proposal

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tough Future Likely Ahead for Health-Care Proposal

Article excerpt

By Lou Anne Wolfe

Journal Record Staff Reporter

The health-care plan described Thursday by Gov. David Walters is a good and necessary start, but there will be future kinks and programs to work out, acknowledged those involved in it.

Walters agreed, but he noted that "if we don't do something, we're going to be in deep doo doo, as George Bush would say."

Oklahoma was one of 12 states to be chosen for an $850,000 grant from the private Robert Woods Johnson Foundation to develop a health-care financing proposal. The grant's term is two years, and those working on it are just a few months into the process, said Dr. Garth Splinter, chairman of the Governor's Commission on Health Care Reform.

Rep. Angela Monson, D-Oklahoma City, said development of the plan was "a very historical occurrence. It moves us a whole lot closer to reform, a whole lot faster, than I had imagined."

The objectives of those involved in trying to overhaul the system are to increase access, stem rising costs and maintain quality care, she said. Aside from the immediate steps announced Thursday, Monson said the issue of increasing access to health care for people who don't have insurance must also be addressed in the near future.

Sen. Bernest Cain, D-Oklahoma City, said getting managed care for the Medicaid system would be a practical solution on a short-term basis to contain costs.

Cain said he admired the comprehensive health-care initiative, and "I've seen a lot of good charts and plans, and a lot of good programs, in the past."

In addition to plans, it will take hard work, fleshing out and funding, he said.

"I frankly don't see where the money is, at this time, to deal with a lot of these problems, but I think we have to start," Cain said.

Besides financing, state leaders must address the administration of the program and a way to package it to sell to Oklahomans, he said. …

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