Oklahoma state, medical leaders discuss next steps after Governor’s attempt to privatize Medicaid ruled unconstitutional

Oklahoma Politics

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – State leadership, medical professionals and Oklahomans are all waiting to see what’s next after the State Supreme Court’s ruling that the Governor’s plan to privatize Medicaid was unconstitutional.

More than 200,000 Oklahomans qualified for SoonerCare for the first time as of yesterday – after voters approved its expansion.

Those opposed to Governor Stitt’s plan say outsourcing the Medicaid program limits access for patients and providers.

“It requires patients sign up with a particular company, it requires that systems quadruple the number of systems that they have to decide to do business with,” said Dr. Steven Crawford – who works with the Oklahoma State Medical Association.

It which was part of the group that issued the challenge to the state supreme court.

It was upheld – saying the healthcare authority did not follow state law – moving forward without legislative authorization.

That – however – was not the first opposition this plan faced.

“In the beginning I was very supportive, until I started visiting around some other states and it was really not going well at all,” said Sen. Rob Standridge (R -Norman). 

Earlier this year, Sen. Standridge led a group of fellow Republicans who spoke out against the Governor’s plan to privatize Medicaid.

“I don’t have anything against the middleman but when you add that 15-20%, it degrades everything on both sides,” he said. 

Standridge says he’d like to look into provider-led managed care.

“ACO was in the Affordable Care Act, ACO’s are being used in Medicare quite a bit so I think that’s a model we might explore, but I’m open-minded to how we move forward,” said Standridge. 

Crawford believes it can be handled by the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority.

“I don’t think there’s any debate from our healthcare system – from our viewpoint – that our current agency does an excellent job at providing management of the state’s healthcare dollar,” said Crawford. 

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Governor Kevin Stitt issued a statement today – saying:

“The Supreme Court’s ruling will unnecessarily delay Oklahoma’s efforts to improve health outcomes through managed care, which the Legislature confirmed is the right path forward for our state through Senate Bill 131. I will continue to work with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to determine the next steps in the process.”

The OHCA also released a statement – saying:

“Improving health outcomes in Oklahoma will continue to be a top priority for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. While we are disappointed in the Supreme Court ruling, we respect their decision and continue to focus on providing quality care to the more than one million Oklahomans we serve through SoonerCare. We are excited to welcome our newest population of Oklahomans now eligible for benefits through Medicaid expansion. This will allow us to serve an estimated 200,000 more people who deserve health care benefits.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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