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Local & Regional

Oklahoma Health Care Authority Board adopts rules that could again open door to privatized Medicaid

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Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Watch
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The board that administers Medicaid in Oklahoma adopts a set of emergency rules over the objections of physicians.

At a Wednesday meeting of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority Board, representatives from the Alliance of Mental Health Providers in Oklahoma and other groups spoke during the public comment period against the adoption of rules that could again open the door to Medicaid in the state being managed by private insurance companies.

Lynn Means of the Oklahoma Dental Association questioned cost differences that can’t conveniently be identified. She said OHCA currently is managing Medicaid efficiently.

“The OHCA currently operates at a less than 5% administrative overhead, while managed care organizations operate at about 15% overhead,” said Means. “As we learned from the last time we had managed care, the only ways that insurance companies can save the state money while spending three times more are reducing reimbursements less than the actual costs of providing the care and routine denials of necessary healthcare.”

Alex Yaffe, a board member appointed by the House, asked OHCA chair Kevin Corbett to guarantee that the rules wouldn’t be used to push through third-party managed care.

Corbett responded that he was in talks with the governor’s office and members of the legislature on the matter and third-party managed care is one of a number of options.

The rules passed 4 to 3, with Gov. Kevin Stitt’s new appointees Susan Dell’Osso and Gino DeMarco voting in favor of the rules.

Dell’Osso and DeMarco replaced two physicians who didn’t support the emergency rules and were kicked off the board months ago.

This is the board’s first meeting since that happened. The last two meetings were cancelled.