State To Announce Private Businesses Involved In New SoonerCare System

Friday, January 29th 2021, 7:15 am

The State is moving forward with plans to privatize Oklahoma's Medicaid program, SoonerCare.

Governor Kevin Stitt and the State Healthcare Authority will announce selected private organizations that will work with the system, called Sooner Select.

On Monday, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority voted in favor of hiring private companies to facilitate Medicaid services.

Both the CEO of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and Gov. Stitt support adding private companies to the state's SoonerCare services.

“Our state is stuck near the bottom of the list in almost every major health outcome. Oklahomans hired me to bring a fresh set of eyes to all areas of state government, and as governor, I can’t stand by and continue with business as usual when the system isn’t working,” Stitt said in a statement.

The state medical and hospital associations both said they are disappointed in the healthcare authority's decision. They believe it could result in fewer services for the more than 900,000 Oklahomans enrolled in SoonerCare.

“We truly believe that outsourcing Medicaid to an out-of-state, for-profit company is not in the best interests of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens who rely on these health services,” said Dr. George Monks, president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association.

“Moreover, we do not think it is appropriate for a state agency to commit to billions of dollars’ worth of future spending without the input of the Legislature, which will ultimately be responsible for appropriating these funds,” he said.