Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is moving ahead with his SoonerCare 2.0 proposal as the state deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority released Stitt’s Medicaid proposal for public comment. It’s the first public look at the full plan, which aims for full expansion for low-income, able-bodied adults July 1 followed by a transition to a capped federal funding system and implementation of restrictions July 1, 2021.
Those restrictions include a community engagement requirement that increases from zero to 80 hours a month of work, schooling or volunteering over the course of a year. Oklahoma Policy Institute Police Director Carly Putnam said the state will need a system to track compliance and account for exemptions.
"But in order to set that up, we know, can be extraordinarily costly, but the state the state has absolutely no mention of what it expects those costs to be or how they will be paid for," Putnam said.
Stitt’s proposal would kick people off SoonerCare 2.0 once they don’t meet those requirements. There are some exemptions, including for adults over 60, pregnant women, parents and caretakers, and people in addiction treatment.
Other features Stitt wants to implement in 2021 are tiered monthly premiums and copays. The plan estimates enrollment under the work requirements and other restrictions would be 5% lower than traditional Medicaid expansion.
A state question would put traditional expansion on the ballot, but Stitt has not scheduled it for an election yet.
Putnam said those restrictions will mean fewer people actually getting on SoonerCare, and the current situation with the coronavirus shows health coverage is a public safety issue.
"For the state to have moved forward with this at all was poor planning. For the state to have moved forward with this at this moment is, frankly, baffling," Putnam said.
Comments on Stitt’s plan are due by April 15 and can be submitted through coverok.org. More information about the proposal and a schedule of public meetings on it is available from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.
This post was corrected to say "...80 hours a month," from "80 hours a week."