Budget for State Medicaid Authority Could Top $1 Billion in 2013

  • Joe Wertz

The Oklahoma Healthcare Authority is asking for a 25 percent budget increase for fiscal year 2013, a nearly quarter-billion dollar bump atop its current budget of almost $1 billion.

The authority administers the state’s Medicaid program, which comprises the bulk of the budget request. The authority is asking for $166 million to maintain current service levels of SoonerCare, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, The Oklahoman reported today.

The authority wants another $33 million to restore the health care provider’s rate cuts from FY2010, and $16 million to give nursing homes, private duty nurses and other providers rate increases, which would bring them up to national industry standards, the paper reported.

“It’s so that we can monitor the program efficiently and effectively,” Juarez McCann, the authority’s chief budget officer told the paper.

The authority’s other funding requests include:

  • About $6.5 million to “enhance” the Medicaid benefit package with programs like substance abuse treatment
  • $1.5 million to meet mandates of the new Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  • $890,000 to insure quality oversight of SoonerCare
  • $212,000 to update the authority’s computer system

About 900,000 Oklahomans receive services from the state Medicaid program, an authority spokesman told the paper. An additional 250,000 will eligible for SoonerCare when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in 2014