THE SOLUTIONS ORIENTED CASE FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM
By Rep. Glen Mulready
Many at our capitol talk about fraud, waste and abuse—I agree that those areas have played a role in our current budget situation. But we cannot continue to blame these factors without offering thoughtful and responsible solutions to ease the burden on our state budget.
Modernizing our health care delivery system for Medicaid recipients stands to save an estimated $400 million in state taxpayer dollars over the next decade. In the absence of a thoughtful solution, Medicaid will continue to eat into our state budget.
By modernizing our health care delivery system, we will save taxpayer dollars, and more importantly, Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens will receive better care. Coordinating care and providing the right care in the right setting is essential to avoiding costly emergency room visits. Managed care is a patient-centered model that will improve health care delivery and the overall health of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable.
Something else a modernized health care delivery system can bring is budgetary stability. By making payments on a capitated per member basis, the state will know exactly how money needs to be allocated. I cannot overstate the importance of budgetary stability in health care. It is the second-highest appropriated service in our state, only trailing education. With a stable health care delivery system in place, our state legislature will have a predictable funding scenario when it comes time to appropriate health care dollars.
We have the opportunity to address inefficiencies, reduce redundant services and lowers costs, all while improving health care for Oklahomans. This type of proposal must be seriously considered by our state legislature as we continue to examine policies that may have lasting savings in our state budget.
Managed care does not cut corners in service. The healthier the overall program, the more savings are achieved. One example of this is when Oklahomans use the emergency room for conditions that can be efficiently and effectively treated by a primary care physician. Modernized health care delivery holds managed care organizations to high quality standards, improves health care access through stable provider networks and helps remove social barriers to health by linking Oklahomans to critical services like shelter, clothing, food and transportation.
Sitting on our hands is no longer an option when it comes to dealing with the current financial situation in our state. It is negligent to ignore proposals that would consciously reduce costs while providing better services. Modernizing our safety net health care system is the fiscally responsible thing for our legislature to do.
Rep. Glen Mulready, a Republican, represents District 68 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.