LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Members of the community received an update on the current status of our health care industry Thursday.
It was part of the Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon series which highlights specific areas of interest within our business community.
“We want to make sure that we provide our residents, provide our business leaders our community with up to date information from subject matter experts from people who are diligently working the issues of policies that we are facing,” said Brenda Spencer-Ragland, President and CEO of the Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber invited Oklahoma House Representative Marcus McEntire to be the special guest speaker.
Representative McEntire not only represents District 50, but he is also the chairman of the Appropriations and Budget for Health Committee.
“I am super excited to be in my position right now to be making policy that can make Oklahoma a much healthier state, increase access to care for people who need it,” said Rep. Marcus McEntire.
Representative McEntire provided an overview of Medicaid.
“Medicaid affects both your hospitals here in Lawton,” said Rep. Marcus McEntire.
“We are very blessed in this community to have two great medical facilities with Comanche County Memorial Hospital and Southwestern Medical Center,” said Spencer-Ragland.
“Right now the hospitals are serving a population that has no insurance at all," said Rep. Marcus McEntire. "So, it makes for economic hardship on the hospitals and so this is something that is extremely important to Lawton.”
Also addressed was the political implications of State Question 802, which would expand Medicaid in Oklahoma under the Affordable Care Act.
“The real hang up with State Question 802 is not necessarily the expansion, but it really ties the legislature’s hand because it’s constitutional instead of statutory," said Rep. McEntire. "We need to be able to say, ‘Hey we want to pay for a healthier Oklahoma. We want to pay for quality of care and we want to buy something really good, something that changes health care outcomes in Oklahoma.’”
State Question 802, focused on medicaid expansion, got enough signatures last month in order to appear on next year’s ballot.