Statement: OHCA’s approval of privatizing Oklahoma’s health care is bad health care policy and lacks sufficient public comment processes

Statement from Carly Putnam, Policy Director for the Oklahoma Policy Institute: 

“The OHCA’s decision today to approve funding for privatizing management for the state’s Medicaid program was rushed, disallowed a robust public comment process, and advanced bad health care policy with a failed track record in Oklahoma. Tuesday’s board discussion highlighted a divided board. Several members expressed concerns that such a weighty issue warranted additional time and discussion, including input from the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office. However, the concerns of those board members and others at the meeting were silenced by Tuesday’s decision. More than one million Oklahomans rely on coverage through OHCA to see a doctor or fill a prescription. OHCA officials said they expect to select its managed care vendor this week just days in advance of Gov. Stitt’s State of the State address on Monday in front of a Legislature with bipartisan opposition to managed care. OHCA’s decision to barrel ahead with this bad policy, despite pleas to slow down, suggests that some officials may be prioritizing political expediency over delivering the best health care possible for Oklahomans who desperately need it.”

OK Policy has previously raised concerns about the OHCA’s processes forcing Oklahomans to choose between their health and participating in the public’s business, as well as OHCA’s continued pattern of shutting down public discussion on the issue. OK Policy analysis has shown that managed care is a bad investment for Oklahoma, but could be especially harmful for patients, providers, and Indigenous communities


David Hamby has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning communicator, including overseeing communication programs for Oklahoma higher education institutions and other organizations. Before joining OK Policy, he was director of public relations for Rogers State University where he managed the school’s external communication programs and served as a member of the president’s leadership team. He served in a similar communications role for five years at the University of Tulsa. He also has worked in communications roles at Oklahoma State University and the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce in Arkansas. He joined OK Policy in October 2019.

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