The state’s Medicaid director will propose an almost 8 percent rate cut for medical professionals who provide health care to some of Oklahoma’s poorest residents.
Nico Gomez, the CEO of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, said he will propose a 7.75 percent provider rate cut to ensure that his agency will have a balanced budget in the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1.
“It’s really the best case scenario after a very tough budget situation,” Gomez said.
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority administers the state’s Medicaid program, known as SoonerCare, which provides access to health care for lower-income Oklahomans, a majority of whom are children.
For the upcoming fiscal year, the agency will receive the same amount of money from the Legislature as it did last year, despite its leadership’s request for more dollars.
Gomez said his agency requested more money after it learned it would receive a drop in federal money, among other funding issues.
The health care authority expects to see a $50 million reduction in federal money. That’s because the rate that the federal government pays the authority to deliver Medicaid services was recalculated. The amount of money that the federal government provides each state for Medicaid, including Oklahoma, is based on a formula that incorporates a state’s per capita income.
Because Oklahoma’s economy has improved, the thought is that fewer Oklahomans would need Medicaid. However, that hasn’t been the case, leaders said.