Oklahoma Supreme Court Rules Privatizing Medicaid Unconstitutional


Tuesday, June 1st 2021, 9:22 pm
By: Feliz Romero


OKLAHOMA CITY -

The state Health Care Authority picked four companies to run the program that affects about a quarter of the state. The Oklahoma Supreme Court says that decision is not constitutional.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court voted 6-3 against the state, saying it did not have the authority to outsource the program.

“The idea was that the governor believes that private insurance companies would do a better job of managing the Medicaid system than our state agency would,” said Steven Crawford, who practices medicine in Oklahoma.

The analysis portion of the opinion saying, “we agree with the Petitioners’ assertion that the Legislature has not authorized the creation of the SoonerSelect Program.”

“They weren’t involved in the process of making this decision, particularly after we, the citizens of our state, passed SQ 802 that expanded Medicaid,” he said.

Crawford is relieved by the court’s decision. He said dealing with multiple insurance agencies is more stressful for physicians, especially those practicing in rural areas.

“It diminishes the stress that many particularly primary care clinicians deal with day in and day out because of the multiple insurance companies that tell them ‘No you have to do it our way, you have to do it our way!” he said.

The 27-page opinion concluded by saying “the actions of the OHCA are invalid under Oklahoma Law.”

“Our agency doesn’t need to make a profit it just needs to provide an appropriate service to our citizens,” Crawford said.

Gov. Kevin Stitt's office said its lawyers are still reviewing the opinion and have no comment at this time. They plan to address the ruling Wednesday.