Thursday, November 30, 2006

What Do you think about Oklahoma’s health?

(Thanks to Cleveland County Democratic activist Tim Mauldin who sent this to me today. I hope that you will consider making recommendations.)

Do you think Oklahoma’s health and health care are in good shape? Penny Cockerell, a reporter for the Oklahoman wants to know. Please consider sending your thoughts and recommendations: or call 405-760-0775.

Here are some points to be considered from the 2006 “State of the State’s Health” Report issued by the Oklahoma Dept. of Health

• Oklahoma, with 26.1 percent of adults smoking, is third in the nation. The tobacco industry continues to pour billions of dollars into advertising their deadly products, and target those who are most vulnerable — our youth, our minority populations, and our poor…huge disparities exist in the percentage of smokers when comparing race, income, and education.

• Smoking causes more death and disability than any other preventable risk factor. When just looking at lung cancer…smoking results in thousands of Oklahomans dying prematurely each year.

• Unfortunately, many of these lung cancer deaths occur disproportionately among African Americans.

• Smoking also contributes to Oklahoma’s high rates of heart disease, stroke, bladder cancer, and emphysema.

• In Oklahoma, over $2 billion, or $600 per person, is spent each year for smoking-related direct medical care and lost productivity... Such an economic burden stifles growth in Oklahoma and prevents us from reaching our fullest potential.

• Over the past 10 years, it has become increasingly clear that America’s health care system cannot sustain itself. We have by far the most expensive health care system in the world, costing us this year $1.9 trillion or $5,700 per capita.

• The average expenditure for the 25 established market economies (EME), so identified by the World Bank, is about $2,600 per capita. Yet, by any measure of public health, we rank at or toward the bottom of that 25.

• The rising cost of health care combined with more and more people unable to afford health care insurance coverage is placing hundreds of thousands at risk due to lack of access to care.

• We are the only EME that does not guarantee some level of health care to all its children.

• Based on current figures, it is estimated that nearly 700,000 Oklahomans have no health insurance coverage. Such numbers place a huge burden on our health care system due to uncompensated care.

• Currently, every Oklahoman with health insurance coverage pays an additional $1,781 a year on their premium to help cover the medical expenses of state residents without coverage.

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