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Oklahoma “healthcare advocacy” group is really just three insurance companies in a trench coat

7:57 AM EST on November 15, 2021

We at TLO love to complain.

Whether it’s about how Oklahoma ranks 45th out of all states when it comes to overall health or our esteemed governor’s decision-making, we contributors love to moan and whine about what’s going wrong in this state.

Thank goodness there is now a local advocacy group banding together to work for a change in the way Oklahomans receive health care benefits so we don’t have to!

Via KFOR…

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma advocacy group will host an event in Oklahoma City next week to provide community members information on the long-term benefits of Medicaid Managed Care.

Oklahomans for Better Medicaid (OFBM), a multi-stakeholder advocacy organization committed to building a Medicaid system that improves access, quality, outcomes and affordability, will host the event, titled “Let’s Make Oklahoma Healthy,” at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16…

The event will include presentations from Dr. Keisia Sobers-Butler, Vice President of Population Health, Oklahoma Complete Health, and State Rep. Ajay Pittman, D-OKC, HD 99.

“This community engagement event is designed to provide vital information regarding the benefits of Medicaid Managed Care,” Pittman said. “Even though the program’s full implementation is in a transitional state, I believe it is reasonable to expect that it will be in place sooner rather than later, which means the time is now for Medicaid beneficiaries to learn how the program can help greatly improve their individual health outcomes, and that of their community.”

For those of you who don’t remember, Medicaid Managed Care or Sooner Select was Governor Stitt’s $2.2-billion plan to privatize the state’s Medicaid program that was struck down last year by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Under Sooner Select, instead of the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority paying healthcare providers directly for their services, four major insurance companies would have been contracted to insure Oklahomans who qualify for Medicaid. Opponents said the plan would have led to less Medicaid funding actually going to Oklahomans due to the private insurance companies’ administrative costs and possibly a more convoluted reimbursement system that may have further reduced Oklahomans’ access to healthcare providers.

So, why the f*ck are these OFBM guys pushing for managed care again??

Because they just lost out on a cubic f*ck ton of money.

According to a 25-second google search, the folks behind the Oklahomans for Better Medicaid “advocacy” group include two insurance companies, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma and United Health. Also, as the KFOR article states, one main presenter of the “Let’s Make Oklahoma Healthy” event, Dr. Keisia Sobers-Butler, is with Oklahoma Complete Health, which is part of the Centene Corporation-a managed care insurance company that has been sued by other states for overcharging states' Medicaid funds.

While it may make sense to some folks for a few insurance companies to be involved with healthcare advocacy, these three, in particular, were among the four who were previously awarded lucrative contracts with the state of Oklahoma as part of the state’s Sooner Select program. So, when Sooner Select was shot down by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, so were their chances at getting a lot of money from Oklahoma.  Unfortunately, while this "advocacy" group is banding together with Representative Ajay Pittman to push for managed care, we Oklahomans are left wondering if our representatives actually manage to care for us over businesses.

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It's just a wondering. Follow Hayley on twitter @squirrellygeek and become a contributing member of TLO here.

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