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Letter to the editor

Editor’s note: State House District 52 Rep. Charles Ortega (R-Altus) was provided an opportunity to respond.

Editor,

During my almost 40 years of veterinary practice, I learned a thing or two about animals avoiding traps. But those critters got nothing on a politician whose liberal votes have been exposed and is trying to wiggle out of it.

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

As I’ve shared, to balance the budget this year, I believe taxpayer benefits to illegal immigrants should have been cut before raising your taxes or cutting schools.

Charles Ortega didn’t. Schools have been slashed; Ortega voted to raise your taxes, and the state of Oklahoma continues to fund benefits for illegal immigrants. Google “Soon to be Sooner Program” to read about how your tax dollars are being wasted on free illegal immigrant Medicaid health care benefits.

Charles Ortega never once authored a bill or an amendment to end taxpayer funding for illegal immigrants. Instead, he kept voting to fund the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority with its “Soon to be Sooner Program.”

These are indisputable facts. Here’s the latest: The most recent “squirm attempt” by the politicians is to claim that Medicaid is a federal program over which they have no control. This is an attempt to confuse you by mixing up two different programs that sound alike.

Medicare is a federal program. Medicaid is a joint federal and state program. And most importantly, eligibility standards for Medicaid are set by the states. Every state has broad leeway to determine who is eligible for this program.

That’s what the whole debate about accepting Obamacare money to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma has been about for four years. Oklahoma has refused to do so. Similar debates have happened regarding raising cigarette taxes to fund an expansion of Medicaid. Some liberal states, who favor government health care, have very low standards, making it easier for as many people as possible to get Medicaid. Other states have higher eligibility standards that try to limit the number of people on Medicaid. The states set these standards, not the feds.

Oklahoma politicians and bureaucrats have chosen to add illegal immigrants to the Medicaid program in this state. Oklahoma politicians like Charles Ortega could cut this funding, just like they have refused to expand the program for ObamaCare through additional cigarette taxes.

They haven’t. The very fact that the “Soon to be Sooner Program” is administered by the Oklahoma State Healthcare Authority shows that the politician’s arguments that the state has nothing to do with it is a false argument. Another simple Google search on who runs Medicaid, the state or federal government, will make clear that the state absolutely has control of Medicaid jointly with the federal government.

My point has been and continues to be that it is wrong to spend your tax dollars thusly while raising your taxes and cutting funding to education, both public schools and our colleges and universities, as well as other very important state agencies including law enforcement.

Understanding “Soon to be Sooners” is not a matter of semantics and anyone who tries to tell you that the state has no control over Medicaid is not being truthful.

House District 52 is defined by what its citizens tolerate from those we elect to serve us. To receive half-truths from an elected official is not only disrespectful but a breach of the public trust.

John N. Thomas

Altus

Letter to the editor
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