You can help improve the health of our community – particularly our women and children – by learning more about State Question 802 and how it will support our state and local economy by increasing health care for our most vulnerable, as well as helping our local hospital continue to provide the care our residents deserve.

Please consider these numbers from the U.S. Department of Health and Senior Services and the Oklahoma State Department of Health:

• 28.7% of Pontotoc County residents are uninsured

• 32% of women in Oklahoma do not receive prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy

• Approximately 16% of new mothers are diagnosed with one chronic health condition, like diabetes, high blood pressure or depression

• 14-23% of pregnant women experience depression

I know from experience as an OB/GYN physician at Mercy Hospital Ada that we can change these numbers and the serious health conditions they represent by giving more of our neighbors access to health care. By expanding Medicaid coverage, we’ll bring back billions in federal tax dollars to Oklahoma to support our health care needs.

I also worry about what could happen if this measure doesn’t pass. Rural hospitals are having a difficult time making ends meet; we’ve seen that locally with the closure of Paul’s Valley General Hospital. Nationwide, the rate of hospital closures has been greater in states that have not accepted federal funding for Medicaid. Right now, Mercy Hospital Ada is providing about $27 million in free health care to our neighbors who are unable to afford it on their own.

I can’t imagine the people in our community going without health care services. Particularly when an emergency strikes, we need to react quickly to save lives.

Ada is my hometown, and I am proud to live and work here. Our community can be even stronger, with your help. I encourage you to learn more about SQ802 and vote on June 30, 2020.

Bryan Roehl D.O., FACOOG, OB/GYN physician 

Mercy Ada Obstetrics and Gynecology

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