Task force chair proposes replacing state Medicaid program

Thursday, January 26th 2006, 6:15 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The head of a legislative task force is proposing a massive overhaul of Oklahoma's 40-year-old Medicaid system.

The plan by Representative Kris Steele would shelve Oklahoma's old Medicaid system and create a consumer choice system where recipients choose from a menu of services to match their needs.

The Shawnee Republican says his plan could become a national model for giving Medicaid patients control over their own care. He says the current system forces recipients into a one-size-fits-all program.

A spokesman for Oklahoma's Medicaid provider -- the Oklahoma Health Care Authority -- says the agency was encouraged by Steele's recommendations.

Lawmakers have said that Oklahoma's Medicaid system could cripple the state's budget over the next decade due to rising health care costs, an increasing number of low-income participants and shrinking federal support.