Bill Shappard & His SoonerPoll Research Associates just released the findings of their Summer 2019 Public Opinion Poll. The large database of indicators spans many subjects; from Donald Trump To the minimum age for smoking tobacco.
We're focusing on 4 particular health-related questions in the SoonerPoll which show a strong sense that average Oklahomans are eager to make laws to control the health decisions of their fellow citizens.
Oklahomans want the state to begin providing free healthcare for people making incomes up to 33% higher than the federal poverty rate. Medicaid is a federal program which pays much of the cost for unlimited access to a vast network of health services, including free prescriptions. The state would pay the remaining portion for the enrolled individuals, whether or not the federal govt decides to continue the program and the current rate of funding.
Oklahoma's Medicaid program is currently providing for disabled Oklahomans, most children (under the CHIP program) & the very poor among us. There is essentially no co-pay, premium, or out-of-pocket deductible.
Soonercare does place vast restrictions on many health choices for patients. For instance, adults with severe ADD are not provided any treatment, out of fear that they may become meth addicts or sell their needed medicines to other addicts. Socialized medicine programs like Soonercare also limits patients access to the more qualified physicians. Many clinics assign SoonerCare patients to their young 'residency' physicians who's provisional licenses reflect their lack of experience in practicing medicine.
But Oklahomans also largely believe you should be criminally punished for tobacco use before you turn 21. Currently, minors are banned from purchasing tobacco. When asked if 'college-aged adults (under 21) should also face punishment for choosing tobacco, 69.4% were willing to use the criminal code to control this decision of younger adults. Only 22.6% said they would not support such a law.
SoonerPoll did not ask questions about liquor policy or the expanded access & sales of strong alcoholic drink.
Medical Marijuana reforms are still supported, but the explosion of retail dispensaries in the past 8 months has some people concerned that it's perhaps too accessible. A year ago the voters supported the citizens' initiative by 57% of the ballots cast. That number is now about 51%, with nearly 8% not sure how they would vote.
When asked of they would support the expansion of marijuana to recreational (casual) use without a physician's recommendation, the idea Only has 36.1% support. A year ago it was 35%. Cannabis medicine sales & licensing are now bringing in more revenue to the state than tobacco.
While healthcare is a fundamental aspect of human rights and constitutional liberties, Oklahomans are increasingly willing to apply populist political tactics to force the general public to adopt the values & priorities of the ruling class and political majority.
It appears that the Oklahoma legislature is increasingly willing to do the bidding of the majority opinions, without regard to individual liberty or individual insights to particular health challenges which require alternative strategies.
Lawmakers are willing to allow some individuals to suffer & die, in their efforts to combat the perceived abuses of others who are judged to be making the wrong decisions, in the eyes of lawmakers and others who enjoy 'playing God'.