The CEO of St. Francis Health System is praising the Oklahoma Supreme Court for striking down privatized care for Medicaid patients.
The justices say the measure is unconstitutional. The ruling means, for now, the state cannot outsource the state’s Medicaid program to major insurance companies.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 in favor of the plaintiffs in this case on Tuesday.
“We believe the Supreme Court was absolutely correct in their decision,” said Jake Henry Jr, the CEO of St. Francis. “It was another example of executive overreach.”
While St. Francis was not a plaintiff in the lawsuit, Henry is joined by many in the Oklahoma medical community who were outspoken against the changes. The controversy picked up steam late last year, when the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the agency that manages Medicaid in the state, announced they would award $2.2 billion in contracts to four insurance companies to run the new expanded Medicaid program.
Called SoonerSelect, the new managed care system was praised by Governor Kevin Stitt, who said it would improve quality, while controlling costs for taxpayers.
Henry though believes the changes would reduce medical access to Oklahomans who need it and send money out of state to these major insurance companies.
“There is no question in our mind that what will result in better health outcomes is access for people who cannot get care today,” said Henry.
Governor Kevin Stitt’s office though disagrees that the changes are unconstitutional.
In a statement, the Governor says…
“The Supreme Court’s ruling will unnecessarily delay Oklahoma’s efforts to improve health outcomes through managed care, which the Legislature confirmed is the right path forward for our state through Senate Bill 131. I will continue to work with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to determine the next steps in the process.”
We also are hearing from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority who says…
“Improving health outcomes in Oklahoma will continue to be a top priority for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. While we are disappointed in the Supreme Court ruling, we respect their decision and continue to focus on providing quality care to the more than one million Oklahomans we serve through SoonerCare. We are excited to welcome our newest population of Oklahomans now eligible for benefits through Medicaid expansion. This will allow us to serve an estimated 200,000 more people who deserve health care benefits.” – Kevin Corbett, OHCA CEO
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