Anti-MCO bills pass House during significant deadline week

Posted on: 3/12/21

Thanks to your quick actions over the past week, we are in a strong position in our fight against managed care. 

HB 1091, by Rep. Carol Bush and Sen. Chris Kidd, passed the House floor with 81 yes votes and 13 no votes. This while members of the House experienced a barrage of last-minute lobbying by the MCOs and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

“No matter what Medicaid delivery system the state chooses to move forward with – whether managed care or a state model – we must ensure Oklahomans can access quality health care,” Bush said. “This bill determines the contract provisions the Health Care Authority must establish to protect the rights of qualifying participants.”

Another important part of HB 1091 is that it removes the ability of OHCA to unilaterally implement managed care.

HB 2299, another anti-MCO bill, passed the House floor with 82 yes votes and 3 no votes. This bill, by Rep. Dustin Roberts, seeks to protect the current reimbursement rates for OU and OSU medical schools under managed care. 

“The state is going out and having contracts written up right now, so we are looking to protect what we have now,” said Roberts while explaining his bill on the House floor. These two important anti-MCO bills now move onto the Senate. 

Another bill of note that moved on from the House this week, HB 2504 by Rep. Chris Kannady, would give the state commissioner of health of the Oklahoma State Department of Health unprecedented influence over our largest city-county health departments, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. We are part of a coalition working against this measure, but it did pass the House on Wednesday by a vote of 54 to 41. 

On the Senate side, SB 548 by Sen. Julie Daniels, passed the Senate with title off by a vote of 38 to 9. You may remember that this bill would prohibit a hospital from collecting medical debt unless a good faith estimate is agreed to by the consumer prior to care being provided. More troubling, the bill would set rates on emergency care at 165% of Medicare in the event that a patient is not able to receive such an estimate. While the bill is still alive, it comes to the House in a weakened state due to title being off the bill, meaning it will have to return to the Senate in order to make it to the governor’s desk. 

SB 674, by Sen. Greg McCortney, is another OHA priority bill that would establish payment parity for medical services and behavioral health in telemedicine. The title is off the bill as we continue to work with the bill authors in both the House and Senate. 

This marks the end of a significant deadline week, as all bills had to be heard and voted off the floor of their respective chambers (House/Senate) by Thursday. Thank you for your continued support and participating in our grassroots action alerts as these make a difference at our state Capitol. (Scott Tohlen)