What is SoonerCare? It’s what we call Oklahoma’s Medicaid program. The program is a combined effort of state and federal resources to help people get basic healthcare and long-term care services, but SoonerCare is in trouble, and after $1 billion in cuts over the past decade, we could be seeing the end of a program that helped nearly 1 million Oklahomans last year.
Is SoonerCare Going To Survive The Budget Crisis?
Right now, the Oklahoma government in is a budget crisis. There is a $1.3 billion hole in the budget, and nobody knows how to plug it. The legislature has slashed programs all across the board to try to make up for this shortfall, but now they have an idea that could jeopardize the entire state’s healthcare system. The agency that runs SoonerCare—the Oklahoma Health Care Authority—has proposed a 25 percent cut of SoonerCare provider rates!
The cut will save the state an estimated $64 million, but since the federal government matches what our state government puts into the Medicaid program, an extra $100 million of federal money would also be lost with the cut. That means SoonerCare would lose $164 million—the largest cut to Oklahoma’s Medicaid system ever—and the cut would hit over 46,000 SoonerCare providers.
Providers and nursing homes that depend on Medicaid money could be forced to close their doors if this cut is enacted. That would leave thousands of pregnant women, children, low-income older residents, and Oklahomans with disabilities without the healthcare or vital services that they need to survive. And if the financial crisis continues, SoonerCare could collapse entirely—leaving Oklahoma as the only state in the US without a Medicaid program.
What can our state government do to stop the collapse of SoonerCare? Keep following our blog to find out.