The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

August 16, 2013

Oklahoma gets low marks from advocacy group for state policy on fighting cancer


Health critique

The state also had low marks on tanning bed restrictions for minors and school exercise requirements, according to the group’s scoring criteria.

Fallin’s spokesman isn’t sure he agrees with the lower-than-average physical education score in the report, citing the growing number of certified “healthy schools.”

“We’re aware that healthy living starts at a young age and that public schools have a role to play in that,” Weintz said.

Another benchmark posed by ACS CAN is early detection of breast and cervical cancer. According to data collected by the group, Oklahoma matches just 38 percent of federal dollars appropriated for screenings.

Oklahoma also can adopt better policies on pain care, the study also reports.

Finally, ACS CAN chides Oklahoma for rejecting Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, which the organization supported through its passage. Under the health care law, states have the option to expand Medicaid to cover single adults whose annual salary is no more than $15,282.

Fallin opposed the expansion last year, saying at the time it could cost Oklahoma hundreds of millions of dollars during the first six years of expansion. Weintz said the issue is not about whether it’s a good idea. Rather, he said, it’s about being fiscally responsible so other key areas of government aren’t affected.

“Absolutely we want to expand access to affordable care in Oklahoma. We want to reduce or at least contain health care costs. But the health issue as a state that we’re facing is obesity and smoking,” he said.

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