My name is Chuck Young; I’m the spokesperson for Texas Dentists for Medicaid Reform. I’m here to speak in support of HB 1536.
Today you’re hearing a tremendous amount of testimony demonstrating how profoundly OIG has violated the rights, not to mention the trust, of Medicaid providers. Rest assured this is only a small sample of what our people have gone through. We speak to providers every single day who’ve had their fortunes confiscated, life’s work annihilated, and reputations destroyed by OIG. This is all based on what I call “INcredible Allegations of Fraud.” Because the tinfoil hat nature of the state’s narrative in this fiasco is truly INcredible.
Here’s what I mean: thanks to sensationalist media, a witch-hunt began two years ago that now has stakeholders scrambling. The story was that virtually every top dental Medicaid provider in Texas is a criminal. This was supported with the claims of supposed “experts”, who are really just fellow clinicians with a different opinion, often driven by political bias and outlandish financial opportunism. And yet this story has been taken as gospel by OIG and others in the state’s apparatus.
Our narrative is that the state was unable, or unwilling, to control the policy it set in motion after the Frew decision. That it allowed TMHP to continue doing prior authorizations despite OIG finding FIVE YEARS AGO that the orthodontics program was enormous and that TMHP was catastrophically failing to fulfill its obligations.
Our story is that providers were unable to gain any guidance from either TMHP or HHSC on detailed clinical questions like the exact definition of “ectopic eruption”, a term that OIG’s experts can’t even find in any orthodontics textbooks. In fact, providers were actually REFERRED TO THE PRIOR AUTHORIZATION PROCESS FOR GUIDANCE. And now, in pursuit of this witch-hunt, we have OIG punishing these same providers despite their good faith best efforts.
There are so many things I could comment on in all this: the cynicism with which I regard the calls for “free-market reforms” by a majority that’s explicitly destroyed the free-market in this sector of Medicaid; the disgust I feel towards certain politicians who’ve postured over this issue with McCarthyite glee or how appalled I am by the relentless trampling of basic justice — let alone “due process” — by OIG.
But I’m only going to leave you with this: which narrative sounds more credible to you? Putting aside the enormous volumes of data we are happy to make available to anyone in this room, simply taking the narratives on their own — which one passes Occam’s Razor test? And if — just if — our narrative is the correct one, will there EVER be any accountability on the part of those who supervised this mess?
We hear the language coming out of the Hill; the “Texas Solution”, and “fix Medicaid before expanding it.” HB 1536 would be one tiny step in the right direction. But we’ll still have a long way to go.
Thank you for your time.