The motor in Aracely Baeza’s wheelchair recently went out, a repair that would have cost Baeza and her family hundreds of dollars they didn’t have.
Thanks to help from the state’s Medicaid program, Baeza, who has congenital muscle dystrophy, was able to get a new motor and continue living an independent life.
Baeza, 23, spoke before the Oklahoma Health Care Authority board at a special meeting Tuesday, explaining that the provider cuts the board planned to vote on would affect people like her.
“Not only is it cutting money — it’s also cutting independence for people like myself,” said Baeza, who recently graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a public relations degree.
Board members told a full room of attendees that they didn’t have much choice and voted unanimously to cut provider rates by 7.75 percent. The provider rate cut will save the state of Oklahoma an estimated $48 million.
“These are some of the most difficult decisions we’ve made in the 21 years I’ve been here,” board chairman Ed McFall said. “... We don’t like making these cuts any better than anybody else does. These are the most draconian cuts that we’ve ever made since I’ve been with this agency.”
More on Medicaid in Oklahoma:White House argues for Medicaid expansion
Tuesday’s vote comes after the authority received nearly the same amount of money from the state that it did during the last fiscal year. The Legislature also gave the agency $48 million in the 2014 fiscal year to help with expenses for the next fiscal year.