The Oklahoma State Medical Association announced Saturday it plans to ask the Oklahoma Supreme Court for an injunction that would prevent the state from proceeding with contracts to oversee managed care of Oklahoma's expanded Medicaid program.
“While we certainly have strong feelings about outsourcing the state Medicaid program to for-profit companies, this is about process,” said Pete Aran, M.D., chair of the OSMA board of directors, in a release. “The fact remains that Oklahoma’s legislature has not passed the appropriate legislation or funding to move managed care forward. We believe it is premature to move ahead with these contracts until the legislative process is completed.”
“As a rural physician, I find this especially concerning as it will affect rural patients disproportionally,” said Woody Jenkins, M.D., co-chair of the OSMA Rural Section, in the same news release. “We all want state agencies to run more efficiently, but to date, we’ve yet to hear a good explanation removing billions of dollars from the Health Care Authority and sending it to largely out-of-state private companies can achieve this goal. Additionally, while the OHCA runs at less than 5 percent administrative overhead, managed care companies in other states demand 15 percent or more administrative costs. We just want a chance to have this discussion with our state legislators before committing to this risky scheme.”
Reached by phone, OSMA President George Monks described the process as "rushed."
"The people of Oklahoma should be heard on the issue before we spend billions of dollars that would go to out-of-state, for-profit companies and would put Oklahoma taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars," Monks said.
"So far, we have one elected official from the executive branch and a handful of unelected bureaucrats who are making these decisions," Monks said. "We just don't think that's right."
The governor's office did not return a request for comment over the weekend.
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority provided the following statement: "We are aware of the Oklahoma State Medical Associations intentions to issue an injunction against Medicaid managed care contracts. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority believes that applicable Oklahoma law provides full authority for its development of the plan to improve the present delivery of the Oklahoma Medicaid Program to the managed care system and will respond to the specific legal claims in due course."
Monks said OSMA plans to file their motion in the first half of this week.