Oklahoma Dental Association against managed Medicaid plan

Mike Seals - February 4, 2021 11:41 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Dental Association says they are against the governor’s plan for managed Medicaid.

They say it will be costly, and they’re worried it’ll be harder for people to get the care they need.

“Managed care, farming out the health care decisions of our most vulnerable citizens, to an out-of-state, for-profit insurance company is absolutely not the answer,” Lynn Means, executive director of the Oklahoma Dental Association, said. “This is an extremely expensive change to the way our state delivers healthcare. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, it’s a dangerous time to make such a colossal change.”

She says an attempt at managed Medicaid in the 1990s did not go well.

“We tried this in the 90s, and it was a complete failure. We had about a thousand providers of Medicaid, dental providers across the state and when they moved to managed care, over the years…we were down to less than 100 providers in the entire state,” Means said. 

She says managed care would not only create a shortage for options for dentists, but it’d also be harder to find specialists for things like root canals and braces.

“Managed care organizations make it impossible for providers to stay in the program,” Means said. 

Several medical groups have come out against the plan.

Last month, several state senators sent the governor a letter asking him to change course.

Some lawmakers are for the plan, like State Sen. Kim David.

“I think a lot of my members, some of those who have been outspoken about it don’t understand exactly what the concept is. They know what they’ve been told and they know they should be afraid,” she said at a press conference last week.

According to the online publication Nondoc, David has now been censured for those comments.

The governor’s office did not want to comment Thursday, but previously released this statement:

“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. Moving to a managed care model will deliver better health care for Oklahomans and provide the cost certainty needed to protect our investment in other priorities like education and transportation.”

– GOV. KEVIN STITT’S OFFICE

 

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