Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The office of Gov. Kevin Stitt Tuesday again declined to answer the question of why the governor removed the only two physicians from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority board earlier this month.

File Photo / Matt Trotter / KWGS

Gov. Kevin Stitt has removed the only two doctors on the state board that oversees the agency administering the state's Medicaid program. 


Dr. Jean Hausheer and Dr. Laura Shamblin were dismissed from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority’s board by the governor over the weekend. 


Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has not touched $164 million lawmakers appropriated to pay for the state’s 10% share of the program’s costs.

OHCA CEO Kevin Corbett told lawmakers this week federal virus relief funds and savings from shifting thousands of people from fully state-funded coverage to the expanded Medicaid program are enough to cover costs right now. Around 65,000 people with health coverage through entirely state-funded programs qualified for insurance under Medicaid expansion.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — More than 150,000 Oklahomans have qualified for Medicaid under an expansion of the program approved by voters, and state health officials say they suspect many more Oklahomans are eligible but haven’t yet applied.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority reported Monday that 154,316 Oklahomans have qualified for the additional health benefits. Of those, nearly 91,000 live in urban areas and about 63,000 in rural Oklahoma. About half are between 19 and 34 years old.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A special guest visited Oklahomans celebrating Medicaid expansion taking effect Thursday.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra spoke briefly at Friendship Church in north Tulsa. Becerra praised advocates and health officials on hand for their work to get voters to approve expansion last year through a ballot measure.

More than 120,000 uninsured Oklahomans get health coverage Thursday when voter-approved Medicaid expansion takes effect.

Voters narrowly approved a state constitutional amendment last June to make more working adults eligible for the program. It was put on the ballot through the initiative petition process after lawmakers declined to expand Medicaid for years.

Oklahoma Policy Institute has long made the case for Medicaid expansion. Policy Director Carly Putnam and Legislative and Outreach Director Angela Monson said tying health insurance to a job is problematic.

Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Watch

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — More than 51,700 Oklahomans have qualified for Medicaid since enrollment began this week under an expansion of the program that voters approved last year, state officials said Friday.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which oversees the Medicaid program, reported that 51,708 Oklahomans have already qualified for benefits, including about 30,000 from urban areas and more than 21,000 from rural Oklahoma. Enrollment opened June 1, and benefits will begin July 1.

Oklahoma Capitol

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday afternoon issued a ruling that could have major ramifications on Gov. Kevin Stitt's plan for privatization of Medicaid expansion in the state.

In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled that the state of Oklahoma does "not have authority under the law to proceed and implement the SoonerSelect program," the name of the managed care expansion program.


Lawmakers have chosen to set in state statute guardrails for Oklahoma’s Medicaid managed care program rather than block Gov. Kevin Stitt’s privatization plan.

The Senate and House signed off on a final version of Senate Bill 131 late last week. It puts contract provisions with the four participating insurers into state law, gives the legislature opportunities to pump the brakes on expanding managed care and preserves reimbursement rates for providers that opt out of performance-based pay models.

During a floor session that ran late into Tuesday night, the Oklahoma House advanced a bill to halt privatization of the state’s Medicaid program.

Senate Bill 131 would require the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to oversee the program and implement new elements like a prevention component assessing social health risks. Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma takes effect July 1. An estimated 200,000 residents will be newly eligible.

A political group is urging the Oklahoma legislature to pass a bill stopping the governor's plan to privatize Medicaid.

The group, called Stop the Health Care Holdup, includes healthcare professionals from around the state who oppose Governor Stitt's proposal. 


The Oklahoma Health Care Authority will start taking applications for coverage under Medicaid expansion a month before it takes effect.

The application process will open June 1 at, giving newly eligible Oklahomans time to be approved for SoonerCare before coverage begins July 1.

Adults 19 to 64 years old with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level will be eligible. That's $17,796 a year for one person or $36,588 for a family of four.

Oklahoma now has fewer than 100 days until voter-approved Medicaid expansion takes effect, and a think tank has recommendations for implementing it. 

Oklahoma Policy Institute Health Policy Fellow Emma Morris said the main recommendation is to start enrollment now. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority currently plans to wait until July 1.

Oklahoma Medical Groups Sue To Stop Medicaid Privatization

Feb 11, 2021
Stuart Ostler / Oklahoma Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A group of Oklahoma medical organizations filed suit Thursday seeking to stop Gov. Kevin Stitt from privatizing much of the state’s Medicaid program.

The Oklahoma State Medical Association, Oklahoma Dental Association and other state medical groups filed a petition that asks the state Supreme Court to weigh in.

They argue that the Oklahoma Health Care Authority proceeded with the plan without the legislative approval required to fund the proposal.

Oklahoma State Medical Association

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.

KWGS News file photo

An executive at Oklahoma’s largest health care system told Oklahoma lawmakers he’s wary of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s current plan to privatize the state’s Medicaid program.

Oklahoma Chooses Vendors For $2B Partial Privatization Of Medicaid

Jan 29, 2021

State officials announced the winners of up to $2.1 billion in health care contracts on Friday, a major milestone in implementing Oklahoma’s hotly debated privatized Medicaid program.

Four private health insurance companies will handle much of Oklahoma’s Medicaid program starting in October: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma; Humana Healthy Horizons; Oklahoma Complete Health, which is a subsidiary of managed care giant Centene; and United Healthcare.

The state of Oklahoma has chosen the companies that will manage the state's expanded Medicaid program.

"The Secretary of Health and Mental Health and Oklahoma Health Care Authority CEO, Kevin Corbett, will announce the selected managed care organizations who will assist OHCA in implementing a comprehensive managed care delivery system for certain SoonerCare members," the state said in a Thursday press release. "The managed care program will be known as SoonerSelect."

Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Watch

Governor Kevin Stitt’s plan to outsource management of Oklahoma’s expanded Medicaid program to a for-profit company cleared a procedural hurdle on Tuesday.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority Board approved on Tuesday spending up to $2.1 billion on contracts next fiscal year with managed care organizations, or MCOs. The 6–3 vote came after public comment from representatives from a handful of health organizations, all of them opposed.

The fight over outsourcing management of Oklahoma’s expanding Medicaid program looms large over the upcoming legislative session.

During a budget hearing Monday for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chair Greg McCortney (R-Ada) asked CEO Kevin Corbett about $217 million in estimated reserve cash the agency has from increased federal funding during the COVID-19 pandemic.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A former employee of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s administration has registered as a lobbyist for a private health care company that’s bidding on a state contract to manage Oklahoma’s Medicaid program.

Our guest is the author and doctor Michael Stein, who's also a professor of health law, policy, and management at Boston University. He tells us about his new book, which presents the many various moving, sobering, genuine, and often heartbreaking accounts of his patients about money...and about having (or not having) enough money to simply get by in the U.S. today. "Broke" gives us the words and thoughts of those now facing the reality of having to choose between getting medical treatments or paying their bills. As was noted of this book by Dr.


Administration may be the big fight over Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma.

Lawmakers leading the discussion are confident they can use a plan vetoed by Gov. Kevin Stitt as a funding fallback. It used an increased assessment on hospital revenue to come up with around $130 million, most if not all of Oklahoma’s share of around $1 billion in expansion costs.

Oklahoma Voters Narrowly Approve Medicaid Expansion

Jul 1, 2020
Yes on 802

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma voters narrowly decided on Tuesday to expand Medicaid health insurance to tens of thousands low-income residents, becoming the first state to amend its Constitution to do so.

Medicaid, GOP Congressional Primary Top Oklahoma Ballot

Jun 27, 2020
Matt Trotter / KWGS

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A question on whether to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma and a crowded Republican field vying to challenge the state’s lone congressional Democratare drawing the most attention ahead of Tuesday’s primary election.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday said he still does not support State Question 802, the ballot question to be voted on by Oklahomans on Tuesday regarding whether the state's Medicaid program should be expanded.

"It's going to be either raising taxes, which I'm not going to be for, or it's going to be cutting services from other state agencies" like education and public safety, Stitt said on how the state would fund the expansion if passed by voters.

On this edition of ST, we're talking about State Question 802, the Medicaid expansion initiative that Oklahoma voters will cast ballots for or against on Tuesday of next week. This measure, per, would "expand Medicaid in Oklahoma under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. It would provide Medicaid coverage for certain low-income adults between 18 and 65 with incomes at or below 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL).

Gov. Kevin Stitt has put a state question to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma on the June 30 ballot.

State Question 802 supporters turned in more than 313,000 signatures last year to qualify the proposal for a statewide vote. It needed 178,000.

From Flickr, licensed uncer CC BY 2.0.

Governor Kevin Stitt's proposal to retool Oklahoma's Medicaid system closed its 30-day public input period on Wednesday, but some Oklahomans say the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic made that timeframe inadequate for such a consequential policy change.

As many of us return home for the holidays, we might see certain signs that our parents are not only aging but also, perhaps, are in declining health. What are those signs, and what should we do if we see them? Our guest has some answers. He's Tulsa-based attorney Todd Whatley, and he's with the Oklahoma Elder Law Group.