OCPA Impact supports passage of House Bill 1566, Medicaid reform, by state Rep. Glen Mulready and state Sen. Kim David.
This measure represents a significant reform of Oklahoma’s Medicaid system. As Oklahoma practices better management of its Medicaid system, the federal funds offered via the Obamacare Medicaid expansion will appear less and less enticing.
Medicaid represents the fastest-growing area of Oklahoma’s state government spending over the past decade. Due to rapid growth in recent years in Oklahoma’s Medicaid spending, total state spending on health care now exceeds total state spending on education.
One of the chief objectives of reforms such as those contained in HB 1566 is to better coordinate care among providers in order to improve the health outcomes of individual Medicaid beneficiaries — individual people, with unique health needs and circumstances — with the eventual goal of seeing many of these individuals transition out of the Medicaid system.
Oklahoma’s Medicaid system is currently a strict fee-for-service arrangement, with little to no emphasis on responsible behavior by the individual. This has led to severe cost overruns.
If Oklahoma doesn’t adopt reforms such as those in HB 1566, the alternative will be large Medicaid reimbursement rate cuts for providers in the state. Reform is urgently needed. Scare tactics intended to forestall reform should be considered as such.
States across the country are reforming their Medicaid systems to control cost overruns while still ensuring quality health outcomes for beneficiaries. One such state is Louisiana, where Gov. Bobby Jindal has led the way in implementing reforms very similar to those in HB 1566.
We encourage Oklahoma legislators to please support HB 1566. Upcoming votes on the measure will be scored as positive on the legislative scorecard OCPA Impact will release at the end of Oklahoma’s 2015 legislative session.