The Norman Transcript

Local news

May 9, 2013

State report on uninsured finished, but officials won’t release it yet

NORMAN — A consultant hired by Oklahoma to help create a plan for covering people without health insurance has delivered a draft report on its findings to state officials, but officials refuse to release the report.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority will present some of the consultant’s preliminary findings and recommendations at its board meeting today, using a PowerPoint slide show presentation, an Oklahoma Health Care Authority spokeswoman said. That slide show will be released after the meeting. The draft report will not be released at the time. A final version of Utah-based Leavitt Partners’ findings is expected in June.

According to Howard Pallotta, general counsel for the Health Care Authority, the agency does not have to immediately release the draft report or PowerPoint images in response to an Oklahoma Watch request made under the Opens Records Act.

He cited as a reason another statute that allows a public official, before taking action that includes making recommendations or issuing a report, to “keep confidential his or her personal notes and personally created materials … prepared as an aid to memory or research leading to the adoption of a public policy or the implementation of a public project.”

“Once the meeting is held,” Pallotta told Oklahoma Watch, “we then must release the PowerPoint that will be used to either start an action or end it.”

The regular Health Care Authority board meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. at its office in Oklahoma City. Nico Gomez, CEO for the authority, will present to the board Leavitt Partners’ preliminary findings.

Leavitt Partners was hired for $500,000 by the state in January to look at operation of the state’s Medicaid program, SoonerCare, as well as at health programs in other states that would expand health coverage and improve health outcomes. The company was hired several months after Gov. Mary Fallin announced she would reject federal funding to expand Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which meant about 200,000 Oklahomans newly eligible under the act would not get Medicaid starting in 2014.

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