House of Representatives votes on legislation to challenge Gov. Stitt’s plan to privatize Medicaid

Oklahoma Politics

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – There’s a new roadblock facing the Governor Kevin Stitt’s push to privatize Medicaid in Oklahoma, with some in his own party now standing in the way.

“If we go the privatized route right now, we’re gonna have to rebuild the Healthcare Authority. And if you think this is expensive,” said Rep. Marcus McEntire, District 50, the author behind Senate Bill 131 to approve legislation for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

Tuesday night’s vote passed 73 to 17.

57 of those for it are Republicans– challenging Gov. Stitt’s plan for privatized Medicaid.

McEntire argued Stitt’s plan is more costly to Oklahomans, pointing out the state already tried out managed Medicaid back in the 90s and it failed.

“Let’s say the MCO model failed, the privatized MCO model failed like it did in the 90s, 2000s, if it does that, then we’re gonna have to go back and rebuild something that already exists,” McEntire said. “Anytime you add a middle man, you know what happens. The cost goes up because they’re gonna get their cut.”

We spoke with Dr. Tim Fagan, who is also concerned about the cost of Stitt’s plan. He argues Oklahomans could be the ones ultimately paying for the consequences of managed care. 

“You can estimate costs but people are gonna get sick and you can only estimate that. More people may get sick than what has been allocated every year on the state level,” Fagan said. “They’re not into losing money. They’re into it for making a profit. One way that they take care of a problem like that is to deny care to patients.”

Gov. Stitt sent News 4 this statement in response-

“It is disappointing that in the dead of night, 57 House Republicans voted to grow government and spend $1.2 billion of taxpayer money over 5 years on a one-way ticket to Joe Biden’s socialized health care plan in order to please the Oklahoma Hospital Association. Oklahoma ranks 49th in the nation in health outcomes and our constituents deserve better. Oklahomans hired me to bring a fresh set of eyes to all areas of government, which is why I believe SoonerSelect is the right path forward for our state and why I will continue to advocate for this needed change.”

Gov. Kevin Stitt

The House’s media center provided the following statement in response to Stitt from McEntire:

“I’m for better health and better care at a better price,” McEntire said. “Government funded health care is not government funded. It is funded by our tax dollars, and we are responsible for how we spend those dollars. My conscience demanded I do something that will lead to better health outcomes for Oklahomans and that will better protect the hard-earned money our taxpayers.

This is the same bill he endorsed only last year in Washington under the Trump Administration. Now he’s trying to say that leaving healthcare management up to our state is some kind of socialist plot. This measure protects our state from federal overreach. The governor is playing politics with Oklahoman’s healthcare and taxpayer dollars.”

Rep. Marcus McEntire

Now the bill will head back to the Senate.

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