Managed Care for Oklahoma’s Medicaid Program

Oklahoma voters approved Medicaid expansion via SQ 802 in June 2020. Expansion has already extended health coverage to almost 250,000  low-income working-age parents and other adults. It has particularly benefited Oklahomans of color, which is a good first step towards improving equitable health outcomes in our state. Expansion should also provide a financial return to the state both through the injection of new federal tax dollars and the economic impact from job creation, new tax revenue, and increased economic impact.

However, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority — at the request of Gov. Stitt — may attempt to change the current SoonerCare (Oklahoma’s Medicaid program) delivery system. The previous attempt would have implemented a privatized managed care model. In early 2021, OHCA authorized $2 billion in managed care contracts to four companies. The Oklahoma Supreme Court in June 2021 struck down that plan saying the governor and OHCA implemented those changes without legislative authority.

Privatized management of the state’s Medicaid system continues to be explored by some elected officials and state administrators. 

Advocates and health care providers have expressed that the move to managed care will hurt health care delivery while increasing the program’s costs. 

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Oklahoma Policy Insititute (OK Policy) advances equitable and fiscally responsible policies that expand opportunity for all Oklahomans through non-partisan research, analysis, and advocacy.

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