Think tank officials: ‘Rebalancing’ proposal is wrong plan for Oklahoma
By Jonathan Small and Jonathan Ingram
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has proposed to “rebalance” our state Medicaid system, supposedly to better serve the poor. Unfortunately, a closer look at the plan reveals that it’s just another attempt to backdoor an unaffordable Medicaid expansion.
OHCA has provided few specifics about its plan, but we do know the basics. First, “rebalancing” would create a new health insurance entitlement for up to 628,000 able-bodied adults. OHCA says that only 175,000 would be added to the rolls, but in states that have already undergone “rebalancing,” actual new enrollment surpasses projections by an average of 91 percent. In fact, OHCA’s own consultants have estimated as many as 628,000 able-bodied adults would be eligible under this plan.
A study by the Lewin Group, a prestigious health policy consulting firm, found that more than half of those new Medicaid clients under the “rebalancing” plan are already covered by private insurance plans, most of them job-related. They aren’t uninsured at all.
Worse still, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program already has a lengthy waiting list for truly needy children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have been waiting — for a decade in some cases — to receive Medicaid services. So this “rebalancing” would shift hundreds of thousands of already insured Oklahomans onto Medicaid while telling the most vulnerable to step aside.