From OK Policy Executive Director Ahniwake Rose:
“The Oklahoma Health Care Authority is making a mockery of the public hearing process and appears oblivious to the fact that there is a national health emergency occurring. Instead, OHCA is moving ahead with a ‘virtual public hearing’ on a health care proposal that would put needless barriers on health care coverage for up to 200,000 Oklahomans.
We call on Gov. Stitt to pause his health care plan now. Oklahomans have countless issues to address during this national health crisis; fighting for health care coverage should NOT be one of those issues.”
- The OHCA on Monday released Gov. Stitt’s health care proposal, which set into motion a 30-day comment period.
- As part of that comment period, public hearings have to be held. The first public comment period was initially scheduled for March 18, but officials said the meeting would be cancelled due to social distancing concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The OHCA then published a media notification dated March 17 about planned “public hearings,” but didn’t provide dates. The post indicated people could about future planned hearings by visiting the OHCA website.
- Around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 18, media members received notification about a virtual “public meeting” to be held at 3:00 p.m. that same day.
- Information about the March 18 “public meeting” was not shared with the public or added to the OHCA website until 11:45 a.m. Wednesday. Another virtual hearing appears to be scheduled for March 20, according to the OHCA website.
- No OHCA public communication to this point tells registrants how they will be able to provide comment for this process.
- Additional physical meeting sites across the state are listed for a March 24 public hearing, but no indication how this aligns with Gov. Stitt’s comments Tuesday against public gatherings of larger than 10 people per the White House and the Centers for Disease Control.