managed care
Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks at a press conference about the results of a Medicaid eligibility audit on Thursday, June 25, 2020. (Tres Savage)

To the editors:

Why is Gov. Kevin Stitt rushing to privatize $7 billion in Medicaid health services when the Oklahoma Health Care Authority provides high-quality care with only 3-4 percent in administrative overhead?

Rep. Marcus McEntire (R-Duncan), chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Health, has said the Stitt plan allows private companies to charge up to 15 percent for their overhead and profits — more than three times what taxpayers pay OHCA.

Stitt admits he’s a businessman without knowledge of state government history and processes. That’s probably why he doesn’t know about the state’s failed experiment with privatized managed care from 1993-2004.

The state backed away from the model “following years of ineffective provider retention, the need for higher provider reimbursements and the demand from MCOs (Managed Care Organizations) for an 18 percent rate increase,” according to Emma Morris at the Oklahoma Policy Institute. The Legislature attempted managed care again for Medicaid’s “aged, blind and disabled” populations in 2015, but gave up because of “inevitable harm to providers.”

It’s a fact: There’s not much profit in providing health care to Oklahoma’s poorest citizens. To make a profit, MCOs would have to significantly decrease medical services available to patients with the greatest need.

Gov. Stitt, you’re not running a mortgage company anymore. You are supposed to be a public servant and should be seeking input from elected legislators and the people — particularly those from marginalized American Indian, Black and Latino communities, who have experienced the greatest health care disparities.

Jackie Gaston
Yukon, OK

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