Oppose Expensive Barriers to Health Care – HB 1093

Cartoon by Bruce Plante / Tulsa World

HB 1093 would require the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to subject SoonerCare members to enhanced verification procedures to determine eligibility for benefits.

HB 1093 would 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. As a result, HB 1093 is contrary to the call of Special Session to deal with the budget shortfall, government inefficiencies, and a teacher pay raise.

Where Things Stand (as of 09/26/17)

A previous version of this legislation (HB 1270) passed the House and the Senate during regular legislative session, but the chambers did not agree on final language. Now HB 1093, which exactly matches the final version of HB 1270, has been introduced during special session. HB 1093 has been scheduled for a hearing in the House Rules committee at 9:30AM, Thursday, September 28. 

What You Can Do

  1. Please contact members of the House Rules committee and ask them to vote No on HB 1093

Rep. Josh Cockroft, Chair                   josh.cockroft@okhouse.gov           (405) 557-7349

Rep. Kevin West, Vice Chair              Kevin.West@okhouse.gov             (405) 557-7343

Rep. Jon Echols                                      jon.echols@okhouse.gov               (405) 557-7354

Rep. Elise Hall                                        elise.hall@okhouse.gov                 (405) 557-7403

Rep. Terry O’Donnell                            terry.odonnell@okhouse.gov        (405) 557-7379

Rep. Weldon Watson                            weldon.watson@okhouse.gov      (405) 557-7330

Rep. Meloyde Blancett                         Meloyde.Blancett@okhouse.gov   (405) 557-7334

Rep. Steve Kouplen                               steve.kouplen@okhouse.gov         (405) 557-7306

Rep. David Perryman                            david.perryman@okhouse.gov      (405) 557-7401

2. Contact your own legislators and ask them to vote No on HB 1093. You can look up your two legislators here or call the House switchboard at 405-521-2711 and the Senate switchboard at 405-524-0126.

Short message: Lawmakers have been called back into Special Session to fix the budget and provide a teacher pay raise, not to create expensive and unnecessary new barriers to health care. Please vote No on HB 1093.

Talking points

Implementing HB 1093 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 1093 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 1093’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 1093 would cost Oklahoma hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
  • The figures above do not include the added costs to other state agencies that HB 1093 would require to share more information with OHCA.

HB 1093 would create significant barriers to health care access for Oklahoma families who rely on SoonerCare.

  • HB 1093 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 1093 contains no provisions requiring the Health Care Authority to develop a workaround for those families.
  • HB 1093 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 1093 means that any errors in the information gathered by the independent vendors HB 1093 requires OHCA to contract with will mean families will lose the health care they legitimately qualify for.

There is no evidence that either its cost or its effect on Oklahoma families is warranted.

  • HB 1093’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 1093 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 1093 does nothing to address.

Lawmakers were called back into Special Session to fix the budget and find efficiencies, not to create expensive and cumbersome new bureaucratic procedures.

See our Advocacy Toolkit page for more information and resources. Click here to find your legislators.

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Former Executive Director David Blatt joined OK Policy in 2008 and served as its Executive Director from 2010 to 2019. He previously served as Director of Public Policy for Community Action Project of Tulsa County and as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma State Senate. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Alberta. David has been selected as Political Scientist of the Year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association, Local Social Justice Champion by the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice, and Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers.

3 thoughts on “Oppose Expensive Barriers to Health Care – HB 1093

  1. I oppose hb 1270, I’m a disabled senior, I barely survive as it is, without assistance from snap and Medicare I could not survive.

  2. This is just wrong. Shame on Republicans for what the propose to do to citizens and what they propose to take away. You are not in service to the people who elect you! You are just ugly in your hearts and souls. It is proven that someone is disabled when a doctor has determined they are disabled. Shame on YOU!!!

  3. Please vote NO for HB 1093. This does not serve people; and the State of Oklahoma is still trying to develop a budget that works for all our citizens and provides raises for teachers and balancing the budget. If this bill is passed it is just more money wasted in over sight and more work with less return. It will burden an already over burdened state agency that is trying to do more with less. This bill is not necessary and since it is from another outside advocacy group in another state we as Oklahomans don’t need this. Florida needs to clean up their situation after the recent hurricane and get their house in order instead of sticking their noses into another state’s business.

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