Adviser suggests extending Insure Oklahoma as state's health plan

Michael Deily, senior adviser for Leavitt Partners, told the Oklahoma Health Care Authority that the focus should be on finding a way to extend Insure Oklahoma next year and then possibly expand it by 2015.
by Andrew Knittle Modified: May 9, 2013 at 7:59 pm •  Published: May 10, 2013
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A foundation already is in place to expand health insurance coverage to poor Oklahomans who do not qualify for Medicaid, but how exactly the state will negotiate and pay for that is yet to be determined, a consultant told state officials Thursday.

Michael Deily, senior adviser for Leavitt Partners, told the Oklahoma Health Care Authority that the focus should be on finding a way to extend Insure Oklahoma next year and then possibly expand it by 2015.

“It's going to require lots of care coordination, case management and behavioral health” for such an expansion to work, said Deily, whose group has been hired by the state at a cost of $250,000 to help devise a health care strategy for the state.

A preliminary report given to authority board members was not made available to the public even though it was paid for with taxpayer dollars.

A spokeswoman for the authority said its attorneys determined the report was exempted from the Oklahoma Open Records Act because it concerned personally created notes and materials prepared as an aid to adopting public policy. In March, Gov. Mary Fallin's office released thousands of pages of emails and correspondence regarding health care, but also withheld some, claiming executive privilege and “deliberative process” exemptions, neither of which exist in the act.

Deily outlined general recommendations in a slideshow presentation.

The recommendations

Oklahoma's health care policy developers should develop a plan that leverages premium tax credits to enable the purchase of individual insurance, focus on preventive care and preventable hospitalizations, and work toward a multi-payer model in its pursuit of expanded insurance coverage, he said.

The plan should push uninsured residents to purchase commercial insurance rather than enroll in Medicaid, should force participants to share plan costs through co-payments and should provide health care providers incentives for efficiency and positive health outcomes, he said.

Perhaps most significantly, the state should modify its current Insure Oklahoma plan so that the state might continue to qualify for a federal waiver to continue — and ultimately expand — its capacity, he said. A federal agency said in a letter Tuesday to state health officials that Insure Oklahoma as it is currently operating can't continue past the end of this year.

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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