May 8th, 2017
Although HB 1270 has had many harmful provisions removed, it would still require intensive quarterly eligibility verification for most Medicaid members and applications, and require new applicants to complete a a quiz of personal and financial questions to prove their identity. It imposes pointless obligations on both Oklahoma families and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which administers the state’s Medicaid program. The legislation doesn’t serve any worthwhile purpose and perpetuates the mistaken notion that public benefit programs like Medicaid are riddled with fraud and abuse.
Where Things Stand (as of 05/14/17)
HB 1270 has passed the House and the Senate, and must return to the House to approve or disapprove minor changes made in Senate. If the House adopts Senate amendments, the bill will go to the Governor; if it moves to reject Senate amendments, it will be sent to a conference committee. HB 1270 is on the House agenda for Monday, May 15th.
What You Can Do
You can look up your Representative here and call the House switchboard at 405-521-2711.
Implementing HB 1270 would impose significant costs on financially strapped state agencies.
- Our current online Medicaid enrollment system is one of the best in the country, but HB 1270 would require the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) to dramatically reconfigure it.
- OHCA estimates that the upfront cost of reconfiguring its online enrollment program alone would be would be roughly $1.2 million. In addition, HB 1270’s added scrutiny of new applicants would cost at least $45,000 – $50,000 every month, and informing applicants of discrepancies and status changes in writing could cost $50,000 per month, according to OHCA estimates. Additional financial asset checks could total another $67,000 quarterly.
- Even accounting for a probable federal match, HB 1270 would cost Oklahoma hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
- The figures above do not include the added costs to other state agencies HB 1270 would require to share more information with OHCA.
HB 1270 would create significant barriers to health care access for Oklahoma families who rely on SoonerCare.
- HB 1270 would require new applicants to pass a quiz based on their credit history to prove they are who they say they are. These quizzes would be impossible for families who have little or no credit history or who have moved or changed jobs frequently. HB 1270 contains no provisions requiring the Health Care Authority to develop a workaround for those families.
- HB 1270 specifically limits the amount of time families have to respond to notifications of discrepancies in their eligibility status to just 10 days, instead of the 30 days typically allowed by OHCA. For families who don’t understand the notifications, don’t receive it in a timely fashion, or don’t have time to respond, HB 1270 means that any errors in the information gathered by the independent vendors HB 1270 requires OHCA to contract with will mean families will lose the health care they honestly qualify for.
There is no evidence that either its cost or its effect on Oklahoma families is warranted.
- HB 1270’s supporters claim that the bill will generate millions of dollars in savings by ending fraud and abuse in Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, but there is no evidence that the fraud and abuse HB 1270 seeks to prevent actually exists.
- In the most recent round of federal Medicaid audits, Oklahoma’s payment error measurement rate was 0.3 percent – the lowest of all 17 states audited in that cycle, and substantially below the US average of 5.7 percent.
- Of that 0.3 percent, the audit showed that most improper payments in Oklahoma were triggered by providers, which HB 1270 does nothing to address.