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Oklahoma high court strikes governor's Medicaid plan

Posted at 7:44 PM, Jun 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-03 11:08:54-04

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Oklahoma Supreme Court has overturned a new managed care program that was implemented after voters approved State Question 802.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said the ruling will delay the state's efforts to improve health outcomes.

Supporters of the ruling include Oklahoma's top doctors and the CEO of Saint Francis Health System.

The dispute started with the passage of SQ 802 last June. Stitt then pushed to outsource management of Oklahoma's medicaid system. The state medical association and others sued to stop that plan and it worked. Supporters now call this an end to executive overreach.

"Current law does not authorize managed care. State Question 802 does not authorize the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to transition the medicaid program to managed care,” said Jake Henry Jr., CEO of Saint Francis.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled the new managed care plan is unconstitutional. This means Stitt's plan to have four insurance companies run the state's medicaid system is scrapped. The OHCA was set to award them $2.2 billion in contracts.

“It's sending money to headquarters in other states for these companies' headquarters. For Blue Cross it's Illinois, for Humana it's Kentucky," Henry Jr. said. “There is no question in our mind that what will result in better health outcomes is access for people who cannot get care today."

Stitt released a statement Wednesday on the ruling.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling will unnecessarily delay Oklahoma’s efforts to improve health outcomes through managed care, which the Legislature confirmed is the right path forward for our state through Senate Bill 131. I will continue to work with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to determine the next steps in the process.”
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt
Governor Stitt press office

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