• New Medicaid proposal warrants a close look

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Apr 10, 2016

    TASKED by policymakers with crafting a way to assist Oklahomans who rely on Medicaid, and aware that simply expanding the program is a political nonstarter, Nico Gomez produced a plan he calls the Medicaid Rebalancing Act of 2020. Lawmakers should give it a close look. Gomez heads the state's Medicaid agency, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, and in the past two years has cut his budget by nearly $500 million. Recently he warned that the rates his agency pays to health care providers could be slashed by a whopping 25 percent next year. “If we continue down this road, we won't be able to sustain a viable network, bottom line,” he told The Oklahoman's editorial board last week.

  • Why try to improve tax code when you can punish business?

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Apr 10, 2016

    THE old chestnut is that if something isn't broken, don't try to fix it. In the Obama administration, the catchphrase is this: If something is broken, break it some more. This is what U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has done in the administration's response to the broken system of corporate taxation. Lew last week issued new rules making it harder for companies to lower their taxes by moving their headquarters, a process known as “corporate inversion.” Barack Obama's usual response to a sluggish economy is to slow it down some more. Rather than encouraging U.S. companies to keep and spend more of their money here through tax reform, Obama gets on the demonization train and accuses executives of greed and avarice — if

  • Political odd couple: Cruz and the GOP 'establishment'

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Apr 8, 2016

    IN an election season filled with twists and turns, Wisconsin's Republican presidential primary has provided one more: Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas won one of his biggest and most consequential victories by aligning himself with the party “establishment” he has often derided as unprincipled sellouts. It's an alliance of convenience based not so much on Cruz's appeal as Donald Trump's bigger flaws. Many Republicans view Trump as a certain loser in November who may drag down the party's congressional majorities with him, and perhaps even many state-level candidates. Cruz isn't the favored candidate of the so-called “establishment,” but among Republicans who remain in the presidential race he is viewed as someone who might win in

  • Oklahoma policymakers should boost value of a high school diploma

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Apr 8, 2016

    THE simple reality is that an Oklahoma high school diploma doesn't hold enough value. Lawmakers appear ready to dilute it even further. To obtain a high school diploma, Oklahoma students must pass four of seven end-of-instruction exams in Algebra I, Algebra II, English II, English III, Biology I, Geometry and U.S. History. A measure now being touted, House Bill 1622, would eliminate those tests along with several others. The arguments for making this change ignore the true problems associated with a devalued diploma. Rep.

  • Debt, deficits get ignored in Obama's final budget plan

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Apr 7, 2016

    THE Obama presidency has been notable for extravagant spending, record deficits and exploding debt with nothing to show for it but anemic, lackluster economic growth. The Congressional Budget Office's recent review of President Barack Obama's final budget proposal shows he wants to close out his presidency with more of the same. Under Obama's budget, the debt held by the public would fall slightly, from 75.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2016 to 74.1 percent in 2018. But then the debt would surge again to 77.4 percent of GDP by 2026. And Obama achieves that slight, temporary reduction only by relying on a host of tax increases that are politically untenable, including a new tax on oil during a price slump. In fact,

  • OKC children would gain from KIPP Academy expansion

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Apr 7, 2016

    IT'LL be a while before we know whether Principal Tracy McDaniel succeeds in his effort to expand his successful KIPP Reach Academy. This much is certain: The proposal has grabbed the attention of parents in northeast Oklahoma City, and that's a very good thing indeed. More than 200 people, many of them KIPP supporters, turned out Tuesday night at Fairview Missionary Church, 1700 NE 7, to hear more about McDaniel's plan to place 600 KIPP elementary school students in an existing Oklahoma City elementary school, and eventually have the KIPP model in place for preschool through high school. Presently, KIPP serves 300 fifth- through eighth-grade students in a building it shares with F.D. Moon Academy.

  • Oklahoma DNA testing bill may make it to finish line this year

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Apr 6, 2016

    THE fourth time may prove to be the charm for backers of a bill that would allow Oklahoma law enforcement to procure DNA samples from men and women arrested for felony offenses. How much good will come of this potential change? Supporters say plenty. The idea is that someone arrested for a serious crime may have been involved in other serious crimes, and obtaining their DNA prior to conviction can tie them to those previous offenses. Opponents worry about, among other things, civil liberties ramifications. They contend that a person in this country is believed to be innocent until proven guilty, and that the DNA swabs essentially become tools in fishing expeditions. We have shared those concerns. But Rep. Lee Denney,

  • GOP convention veteran Tom Cole has some advice for Trump

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Apr 5, 2016

    IN backing away last week from his remarks about whether women should be punished for having an abortion if the practice is one day outlawed, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said that, “Like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.” When in doubt, it seems, every Republican politician running for national office invokes the name of Reagan at one point or another. And why not? Thirty-six years after he won election to the White House, Reagan remains the standard against which conservatives are measured. Yet U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, has a suggestion for The Donald: “If you're going to compare yourself to Ronald Reagan, you ought to act like Ronald Reagan.

  • Little to cheer about recent Obamacare milestone

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Apr 5, 2016

    SIX years on, defenders of Obamacare still sing its praises. They do so mostly from a safe distance — in college ivory towers, in media centers and from the pulpit. These defenders liked their doctors and got to keep them. Their employer-arranged health care plans steer them clear of the rocky shoals of bureaucracy, massive cost increases and diminishing choice. Yet for millions of others, the seas are stormy as we mark the sixth anniversary of Barack Obama signing the Affordable Care Act. The cost to taxpayers for Obamacare's website, HealthCare.gov, has been pegged at $2.1 billion, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Government. That's far more than the official number from the Obama administration.