The Norman Transcript


October 27, 2013

Medicaid reform examined by Senate

NORMAN — Members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services heard from key figures in successful Medicaid reform efforts in Georgia, Kansas and North Carolina last week. Requested by Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, 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 said 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. “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 simpy by helping patients get healthier.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Ideal Homes to dedicate Oklahoma’s first Home for HOPE

    Ideal Homes dedicated the company’s first Home for HOPE on Wednesday at 13209 SW 5th in Yukon....

    July 27, 2014

  • Todd Lamb to keynote luncheon

    Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb will provide the keynote address at the Norman Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative Lunch at 11:45 a.m. Aug. 6 at the National Weather Center. Lamb will speak on state issues that may impact local business and ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Builders Association of South Central Oklahoma learns about storm water proposal

    The Builders Association of South Central Oklahoma invited Norman Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary to talk about the new storm water fee proposal at its luncheon Thursday....

    July 27, 2014

  • Backing up everything, everywhere, not as easy as it should be

    Though we may wish or believe otherwise, computing devices are still somewhat of a hassle to use. Some devices, like Apple’s iPad, come close to being fully realized machines, but even iPads have their clunky side....

    July 27, 2014

  • Is using E10 or ‘pure’ gasoline more economical?

    An analysis by AAA Oklahoma shows that at today’s prices, E10 motor fuel is cheaper to use than 100 percent gasoline, despite the fewer miles per gallon produced by E10, which is a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline....

    July 27, 2014

  • Appellate judge retiring

    The Honorable Charles A. Johnson retired from the Court of Criminal Appeals after 25 years on the bench. Johnson was appointed to the court on Oct. 31, 1989, by Gov. Henry Bellmon to fill the unexpired term of Hez J. Bussey. After 59 ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Candy Basket celebrates 25 years

    Perhaps it’s the chocolate covered blueberries whose deliciousness still lingers. Or maybe it’s the blood orange and wild honey white chocolate ganache that won’t soon be forgotten by your taste buds. At The Candy Basket there is decadence ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Bramlett & Associates adopts new name reflective of business

    Bramlett & Associates Multimedia LLC (Bramlett Multimedia), 215 W. Main St., announced this month that the company will change its name after 12 years in business and will do business as BOLD-Multimedia. The announcement, made first to ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Toothpick holders convention coming to Norman

    Lynne Ryan has been collecting toothpick holders her entire life. “My parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.L. ‘Bud’ Gibbs started our collection in 1936,” Ryan said. Ryan was born in 1940, and she grew up crawling around toothpick holders, as have ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Protect your online banking, shopping with encryption

    In my free, one-night class called “Fight the Internet Bad Guys and Win,” I teach everyday computer users how to stay out of trouble on the Internet. How to avoid virus infections, how to discern between the genuine and counterfeit, and ...

    July 20, 2014