OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Gov. Kevin Stitt is taking exception with the Oklahoma House Public Health Committee’s recent attempt to challenge his initiative to privatize the state’s Medicaid program.
The House Public Health Committee passed an amended version of Senate Bill 131 to task the Oklahoma Health Care Authority with managing services for new enrollees.
The Governor’s Office issued a news release on Wednesday saying the amended legislation was dropped in at the last minute and, they claim, it requires the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to implement a costly alternative to Stitt’s SoonerSelect Medicaid plan.
The following statement from Stitt was included in the news release:
“It is irresponsible to use hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to require a state agency to create a program that already exists and is successfully implemented in 40 other states.
Oklahomans do not want to follow Joe Biden’s playbook and continue to grow a single-payer, government health care program that has led to Oklahoma ranking 49th in health outcomes.
Oklahomans want and deserve better, which is why SoonerSelect is the right path forward to improve the health of Oklahomans.”GOV. KEVIN STITT
Top physicians and state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle criticized Stitt’s plan to outsource management of the state’s Medicaid program to private for-profit companies.
Stitt announced SoonerSelect, his plan to revamp the state’s Medicaid program, on Jan. 29.
Selected managed care organizations (MCOs) include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Complete Health, Humana Health Horizons and UnitedHealthcare – each established in the state and serving Oklahomans. Stitt’s office estimates 1,500 new jobs will be created.
Stitt said the new program will improve health care outcomes for Oklahomans.
However, George Monks, M.D., president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, said every state taxpayer should be concerned by Stitt’s plan.
“Do we want to allow unelected agency boards and commissions to potentially put the state on the hook for billions of dollars in future spending without discussion and approval by the legislators who must ultimately approve the funding? We are simply asking the Court to put the process on hold until the legislature can decide if this is a proper path forward,” Monks said.