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Very slow growth

Anne Garcia, chief finance officer for the state Health Care Authority, said Oklahoma's experience was alike to that of other states. Through 2006, the agency saw largely double-digit raises in Medicaid enrollment.

"That was largely driven by the economy, 9/11 economic downturns," she said.

"We were really in a management mode like many states in those six years," she said.

Now, Oklahoma is seeing a "very slow growth" in Medicaid recipients and in use of services.

Garcia noted Oklahoma has improved payments to doctors in recent years, has worked to aim the uninsured, and has addressed high-risk pregnancies and made over-the-counter drugs more reasonably priced.

The agency also has invested in administrative functions such as disease management and health care utilization, and saving money by getting patients out of emergency rooms and into doctors' offices, Garcia said.



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