Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: October 24, 2013
Sen. Rob Standridge
Senate committee examines Medicaid reform
Members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee
on Health and Human Services on Wednesday heard from key figures
in successful Medicaid reforms efforts in Georgia, Kansas, and North
Carolina. Requested by Sen. Rob
Standridge, the interim study closely examined systems implemented
to improve health outcomes and establish fiscally sustainable systems
for Medicaid management.
Standridge said the soaring cost of Medicaid spending in Oklahoma
can’t be contained under the current program. Medicaid spending
accounted for 13.3 percent of the state budget in 2013, up from
6.7 percent in 2000. Standridge noted the recent announcement that
Oklahoma will receive fewer federal matching funds for Medicaid
stands to push those costs even higher, threatening the state’s
ability to adequately fund other sectors of government.
“The system simply isn’t configured in a way that can
control costs and provide budget predictability. This is particularly
problematic because it imperils a program that provides care for
so many underserved Oklahomans,” said Standridge, R-Norman.
“Our ultimate goal is to strengthen Medicaid so it can better
meet the needs of patients. After this week’s meeting, I feel
we have a much better understanding of how proven reform models
can maximize resources to produce better results.”
Presenters Carol Steckel of North Carolina, Mark Trail of Georgia,
and Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer were directly involved with the
implementation of managed care models for Medicaid in their respective
states. Under the systems, the states contract with managed care
organizations to provide services to Medicaid enrollees.
Colyer noted KanCare, Kansas’ new system for administering
Medicaid, features a dynamic integrated care model. This approach,
he said, has improved coordination between providers, patients and
the state to ensure entities are working toward the shared goal
of improving health outcomes.
Colyer said KanCare is expected to save Kansas $1 billion over the
next five years. The program has also generated an additional $150
million in savings in its first year, which the state may use to
expand services for people with disabilities. KanCare now allows
Medicaid to cover life-saving procedures like heart and lung transplants.
Standridge said reforms that emphasize better health outcomes can
help control costs simply by helping patients get healthier.
“Reforms implemented in each of these states show that when
we incentivize better performance, health outcomes improve. In turn,
this controls costs by reducing the need for repeated hospital visits,”
he said. “A feature of each successful reform has been the
expansion of choices for patients, allowing enrollees to choose
the care that best suits their needs. Reforms like this can help
people get the kind of care they need more efficiently, which must
be prioritized for Medicaid to better serve the needs of Oklahomans.”
For more information, contact:
Sen. Stanridge: (405) 521-5535