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Today's Twitter fight an example of contentious health care debate

by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: July 9, 2013

I was waiting on the state Board of Health meeting to start today when I got a tweet about a news story from News Channel 4. The story was about the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, which posts its surgery prices on its website, which most hospitals do not do.

The original tweet, sent at 10:31 a.m., launched a debate involving three Oklahoma Twitter users that have a range of viewpoints on whether Oklahoma should expand its Medicaid program.

The contenders in today’s debate:

The debate/argument started with this tweet from Jonathan Small:

From there, A Plan for Oklahoma tweeted back that:

Small and the Plan for Oklahoma’s Twitter moderator’s quickly transitioned into a debate about Medicaid expansion, hopping from topic to topic within that debate. 

Small argued that the Obama administration has overstated and overpromised what the Affordable Care Act would bring. A Plan for Oklahoma argued back that Medicaid expansion would save about $464 million and help hospitals, businesses, communities and taxpayers. Several tweets later, they got a little snappier (before Gene Perry jumped in).

@APlanForOK@jaclyncosgrove@greene_wayne@AlexWeintz Ah, so you aren’t a plan for Oklahoma, but a plan 4 your clients who want more tax $$$ — Jonathan Small (@JonathanSmalI) July 9, 2013

@JonathanSmalI @jaclyncosgrove @greene_wayne @AlexWeintz Our platform,purpose & partners are right in the boilerplate — A Plan for Oklahoma (@APlanForOK) July 9, 2013

Cue Gene Perry.

From here, Perry argues that the original topic of the debate — price transparency — and Medicaid expansion are different issues. Small did not agree.

After almost 50 tweets, the debate seems to maybe have simmered for now. But it points to just how contentious these conversations can get. Many Oklahomans often feel strongly, one way or the other, about “Obamacare.”

Personally, I’m all for people debating about the Affordable Care Act. We need more Oklahomans engaged in the important conversations and debates being had about the future of health care in Oklahoma. My hope, though, is that the “facts” being thrown out in these debates are more based on unbiased independent analysis and less so on agenda promotion.


by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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