OHA members speak to legislative Health Care Working Group

Posted on: 9/20/19

On Wednesday, OHA Board Chairman Jay Johnson, president & CEO, Duncan Regional Hospital; and Chuck Spicer, president & CEO, OU Medicine, presented to the special task force convened by the Legislature known as the Health Care Working Group. Both pointed out that whether it’s Medicaid expansion or an eligible Oklahoma plan, the state must find a way to bring in additional federal funds for its hospitals. The nine-to-one funding match would go a long way in increasing access to care and improving dismal health outcomes, they said.

The Health Care Working Group, convened by the Legislature in August, is a bipartisan, bicameral legislative working group meant to develop an Oklahoma-oriented plan for increasing health care access. The working group has had four meetings so far, hearing testimony from a variety of health care advocates, state agencies and providers. The 20-member group is similar to the medical marijuana working group that met in 2018 to develop a way to implement the provisions of State Question 788 into law. The working group includes nine members of each chamber and two members of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s administration: Deputy Secretary of Health and Mental Health Carter Kimble and Samantha Davidson, Gov. Stitt’s policy director.

The working group’s formation came as proponents of proposed State Question 802, which would amend Oklahoma’s constitution to expand Medicaid “to certain low-income adults between the ages of 18 and 65 whose income does not exceed 133 percent of the federal poverty level,” prepared to begin collecting signatures. Nearly 178,000 valid signatures will need to be gathered by Oct. 28 for the question to appear on a 2020 ballot.

To read more about the presentations from Johnson and Spicer, go to the Journal Record