Michael Carnuccio, President of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, wrote this piece last week about the savings we have brought to the self-funded plan of the Oklahoma County government. He then challenges the state government to embrace the same agreement we made with County to the benefit of the state self-funded plan and ultimately the taxpayers of Oklahoma.
There is simply no excuse to do otherwise, he states, a $20,000,000 per year savings opportunity (minimum) staring at state legislators at a time when the state budget is supposedly facing shortfalls of various kinds. Oklahoma County has easily saved $400,000 in the first two months of our contract with them. The State of Oklahoma has more than 50 times as many employees as the County of Oklahoma County, so a $20,000,000 savings could materialize every two months if the State experience is anything like the County’s.
An attempt was made early in the current legislative session to allow the State health plan the flexibility to directly contract with physicians and medical facilities like ours. I suppose I don’t need to add that this effort was crushed and likewise, there is no need to say who was behind the curtain calling the shots. As someone on the inside told me, “…it is only a matter of time, now. Your price transparent and competitive model is unstoppable.”
It is truly ironic for an unapologetic free market approach to offer such savings to the State government, medical savings that once again are not the fruit of rationing and price controls, and certainly not the fruit of the Unaffordable Care Act. It will be truly ironic and revealing if the legislature rejects legislation allowing the state health plan the added flexibility to take advantage of the huge savings the price-transparent facilities in Oklahoma have to offer. Michael Carnuccio courageously referred to this as “inexcusable” in his article. Well done.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.
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