• OAHP

Murdock: Private sector can lead us toward better health outcomes, access


Sen Casey Murdock, R-Felt

Sen. Casey Murdock, R-Felt

First published in the Guymon Daily Herald on March 12, 2022


If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

But what if it is broke? How long would a rancher leave miles of fence blown over, exposing cattle to roaming across a highway or onto another person’s property? How long would an investor allow a small business to guzzle up funds without delivering a return?

The private sector knows if it is broken, you must fix it – and quickly – otherwise failure is imminent.

Government is shielded from the refining fire of staring failure in the face. As a result, it can seem that even if the government sees something broken, it just keeps doing the same old, familiar thing over and over. Most call that the definition of insanity.

The single largest insurance company in Oklahoma is the state government. Medicaid Expansion proponents marketed their state question as the silver bullet to save rural hospitals. But if we are truly going to save rural health care, it isn’t going to come from extending the same system, riddled with poor outcomes, to more people. It must come from reform.

Across the nation, 40 other states decided that the delivery method of Medicaid was broken. These states navigated away from the government-controlled, fee-for-service model established 70 years ago under President Lyndon B. Johnson. They fixed it by turning to the private sector for partners.

It’s time we do the same in Oklahoma.

In New Mexico, managed care companies partner with rural clinics to deploy community health workers to support high-risk patients and promote community health needs. In Kentucky, managed care companies deployed financial resources to improve broadband access in rural communities to create stronger access to telehealth services.

By partnering with the private sector to deliver Medicaid, these companies are incentivized to not leave things broken. They must keep fixing and adjusting the system until it is delivering proven results such as better quality of care, more access, or new services. They are built to do whatever it takes to achieve better health outcomes in return for our hard-earned taxpayer dollars. If not, the government will change partners.

Delivering Medicaid in partnership with managed care private companies is a proven method, and one endorsed by the Oklahoma Farm Bureau as needed policy to improve health care.

Let’s put the government in the right driver’s seat of setting standards and maintaining accountability, while the private sector does what it does best with innovating, delivering, and improving our lives.

It’s time to leave behind last place in health care outcomes, and bring Medicaid reform to Oklahoma.