OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — On Friday, Governor Kevin Stitt announced managed care organizations to help with the expansion of the Oklahoma Medicaid program although legislators on both sides of the aisle have been outspoken against entering managed care contracts.
“A healthy Oklahoma is a prosperous Oklahoma. As leaders we have a moral obligation to make life better for the people that we serve,” Stitt said.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Complete Health, Humana Health Horizons and UnitedHealthcare are the managed care organizations the governor wants to manage the healthcare of Oklahomans who rely on Medicaid.
“We started this work in June of 2021 (sic), examining countless amounts of data, obtaining input from other states the governor mentioned that have made this transition and addressed issues that included hundreds of attempts of past managed care. These were all significant steps in reaching our ultimate goal in improving the lives of nearly one million Oklahomans currently in need of Medicaid,” said Kevin Corbett, Oklahoma Health Care Authority CEO.
Corbett says the contracts will start when they start the program, which they’re hoping to be on October 1st of this year.
Senator Kim David addressed her fellow lawmakers about the plan.
“I think a lot of my members, some of those who have been outspoken about it don’t understand exactly what the concept is. They know what they’ve been told and they know they should be afraid,” David said.
The Oklahoma State Medical Association, Oklahoma Osteopathic Association and American Academy of Pediatrics—Oklahoma chapter shared a joint statement directed at the governor—saying in part, “It is unfortunate that, rather than working with stakeholders and legislators on his managed care scheme, this administration has chosen to push through an ill-conceived plan that will have serious implications for our state’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations.”
Just last week, a group of 9 senators sent a letter to Gov. Stitt asked him to rethink his plan to enter into a managed care contracts.
Senator Rob Standridge was one of them.
“It’s one of the worst ideas both in healthcare and financially that I could ever imagine the state making. It’ll be a multibillion dollar mistake and it will harm patients as a result,” Standridge said.
Rep. Forrest Bennett also saying legislature should have been involved especially with session days away from starting.
“I think the people of Oklahoma certainly deserved to have this conversation be a little bit more public,” Bennett said. “I don’t know that this is gonna bare well for the governor, knowing that he has upset legislative leaders by going ahead with this.”
An estimated 1500 new jobs are expected to be created through the managed care organizations.