The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that Gov. Kevin Stitt’s plan to privatize much of the state’s Medicaid program is unconstitutional.
In a 6-3 decision Tuesday, the court determined that the Oklahoma Health Authority did not have the legislative approval to move forward with the plan, nicknamed SoonerSelect.
“We do not find an express concession from the legislative authority to create the SoonerSelect program nor do we find that the existing statutes implicitly authorize its creation,” the government says.
The court also determined a constitutional amendment approved by voters last year to extend Medicaid to more low-income people even though it did not authorize a new managed care program like SoonerSelect.
The court also found that the Oklahoma Health Authority, the state’s Medicaid agency, should enforce the rules governing competitive bidding before implementing a call for proposals and awarding contracts. .
The Republican governor has pushed the plan to outsource the management of the state’s Medicaid system to for-profit insurance companies, maintaining that the approach will maximize health quality while reducing costs.
“The Supreme Court ruling will unnecessarily delay Oklahoma’s efforts to improve health outcomes through managed care, which the Legislature has confirmed is the right path for our state through Senate Law 131,” he said. said Stitt, referring to a bill approved by the GOP-controlled Legislature that placed some restrictions on the managed care plan. Stitt let the bill become law without his signature.
Stitt said he had planned to work with the Health Authority to determine how to proceed.
A group of medical organizations filed a lawsuit in February seeking to stop the plan, including the Oklahoma State Medical Association, the Oklahoma Dental Association, the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association, and the Oklahoma Society of Anesthesiologists and the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Oklahoma doctors were virtually united in opposition to this plan,” Allison LeBoeuf, executive director of the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association, said in a statement. “Oklahomans are best served when medical decisions are made between the doctor and the patient, and without interference from insurance bureaucrats.”