CoverOK Coalition: SB 689 stifles voices for Oklahoma’s underserved populations
Statement from the CoverOK Coalition, which exists to ensure all Oklahomans have access to quality, affordable health care and also seeks to protect Medicaid access for all who qualify:
Senate Bill 689 would unnecessarily limit the voices of advocates and professionals who serve on the Oklahoma Health Care Authority’s Medical Advisory Committee (MAC), which provides health and medical care advice to the agency. SB 689 proposes to remove representatives from organizations that serve the economically disadvantaged, people with substance use disorders, and Oklahomans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In addition to limiting advocates for these crucial groups, changes brought by SB 689 would significantly reduce the number of members and shorten the allowed length of service on the MAC.
Today, members of the MAC bring specific expertise on the experiences and needs of people who are insured by Medicaid. This breadth of representation is critical to ensuring Medicaid policy best meets the needs of all Oklahomans.
While we support the legislation’s explicit creation of a formal position for a member of an Oklahoma-based American Indian tribe, this does not require the elimination of other essential voices on the MAC.
The CoverOK Coalition calls on lawmakers to oppose Senate Bill 689 in its current form and to protect the full range of voices that are currently represented on the MAC.
The Cover OK Coalition advocates for the following principles:
- Oklahoma should maximize Medicaid funding to deliver high quality coverage and services to Oklahomans
- All Medicaid eligible Oklahomans should be able to obtain comprehensive health coverage without administrative barriers
- All medicaid services should be provided with minimal out-of-pocket costs and without dangers of being locked out of coverage
- Medicaid services should be delivered efficiently and transparently and operate without red tape