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The Special K’s: At least two more than Sen. Kim David

Patrick B. McGuigan, for The Southwest Ledger

OKLAHOMA CITY – Senator Kim David, R-Porter, is the Oklahoma Senate Majority Floor Leader.

David is among the most prominent legislative supporters of managed care as Oklahoma moves toward Medicaid expansion over the balance of this year calendar year.

More than alliteration, there are two other professional women with a “K” name who are passionate in their belief that Oklahoma must advance wisely as state leaders develop Oklahoma’s voter-approved version of expansion.

Kaitlyn Finley began as a summer intern but is now a policy research fellow, focused on healthcare and welfare policy, at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA).

The state’s leading “think tank” supporting free market public policy reforms brought the graduate of the University of Science and Arts in Oklahoma to Lincoln Boulevard after she interned for the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C., and worked at the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

For the last three years, she has crafted more than six dozen readable and referenced essays on various aspects of health system (and other) issues. Sometimes her focus is on a particular piece of legislation, unsurprising given OCPA’s consistent emphasis on the real world of policy development.

Other times Finley’s deeply informed examinations touch on broader themes of public policy – such as the ways that consumer choice is disrupting the status quo, how individual choice can empower those who have felt powerless and scores of other themes.

Her support for a system of Managed Care for Medicaid Expansion, evidenced in comments for this reporter’s March 18 analysis, does not mean she is uncritical of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the state government agency that has advanced Governor Kevin Stitt’s agenda for managed care. She said in a recent interview that a 2020 audit “found the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) lacks necessary eligibility and fraud prevention processes to ensure proper program accountability with taxpayer dollars. Perhaps more existing resources should be directed to properly verify applicants and provider reimbursement.”

Another of this writer’s designated “Special K’s” is Karma Robinson, president of GR Pro, a public affairs firm that includes both policy advocacy and independent political action in its portfolio.

She is guiding the work of Oklahomans for Better Medicaid, making her an important voice in countering Managed Care nay-saying from the powerful Oklahoma State Medical Association and its allies.

In February, a kick-off press release for OFBM described the group as “a multistakeholder advocacy organization committed to building a Medicaid system that improves access, quality, outcomes and affordability. …”

The group includes “patient advocates, clinicians, community-based organizations, health care leaders and providers, health plans, and others who are champions of Medicaid and Medicaid Managed Care. OFBM plans to work closely with key stakeholders as Oklahoma begins to modernize its Medicaid program.

Members of OFBM, Robinson said, “believe Medicaid Managed Care is the best way to improve the health and wellbeing of Medicaid beneficiaries in Oklahoma by expanding access to care, improving the health care experience and reducing costs.”

Groups involved with OFBM include Oklahoma Charitable Clinic Association, Youth Villages, Progressive Independence, BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma, UnitedHealth Group, and the Hope Research Center.

The group has established a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Kaitlyn Finley, Karma Robinson and, to be sure, Kim David.

In the mind of a veteran analysis of events under the dome at the State Capitol, this season’s “Special K’s.”

Note: This reflection first appeared at The SouthWest Ledger (Elgin, Oklahoma), March 25 print edition. It is reposted here with permission.

From left, Kaitlyn Finley of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Karma Robinson of Oklahomans for Better Medicaid. Southwest Ledger Graphic.