Truth test - Vince Orza campaign

Wednesday, August 21st 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The number of political ads has doubled on the airwaves in the last week - with another week to go before the Oklahoma primary.

But can those ads pass the truth test? News on Six reporter Emory Bryan is here with that. Democratic candidate Vince Orza paid nearly a half million dollars for the ads he's running this month - but keeps his claims pretty general. Still - there's enough there to put Vince Orza is in the race again - for Governor.

A former TV anchor, he's now the chief executive of Garfield’s restaurants. His ads tout his business - and education experience. He's a former teacher and college professor - and while in some ads he's just called Vince Orza - in the education ads, he's Dr Vince Orza. "I'll work to fund education first, but more importantly, I'll work to raise teachers salaries” But can he really do that - when the legislature sets teacher pay?

Orza says he can - by getting lawmakers to set education funding early in the session. It’s always been last. But that's not up to the governor - and even if it's funded first - it doesn't mean education will get any more money. "I'll work to lower cost of prescription drugs for our senior citizens. Oklahoma can do what other states have already done successfully, leverage our enormous buying power, negotiate volume discounts and then pass those savings directly on to you and all of Oklahoma's senior citizens."

But can he lower the cost of prescription drugs for all senior citizens? The state already leverages buying power and negotiates volume discounts on prescription drugs. But it's only for people on Medicaid - mainly people in nursing homes. That's just 1 out of every 10 senior citizens. The fact is - the state only has influence on the price of drugs for a small part of the population.

The Oklahoma Healthcare Authority says the state already pays less than wholesale - but Orza thinks the state can negotiate an even better deal - if he's elected Governor.