April 8, 2016 | MONTGOMERY – Without Fully Funding Medicaid, Patient Care at Risk
With the passing of the General Fund budget, lawmakers appropriated $700 million for Medicaid next year, $85 million short of what is needed to fully fund Medicaid. Now the Medicaid Agency is left with the tough decisions of which programs to cut, and how deep to reach into the pockets of Alabama’s citizens who can already barely afford their medications and health treatments. Services at risk of being cut are prescription drug coverage for adults, eyeglasses for adults, outpatient dialysis, prosthetics and orthotics, hearing programs, Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), among other programs and services that patients across Alabama need to survive.
Medicaid is a critical component of our health care system, covering the young and elderly. More than half the births in Alabama and 47 percent of our children are covered by Medicaid, as well as 60 percent of Alabama’s nursing home residents. Without full funding, the Medicaid program will collapse, leaving these individuals without coverage. While uncompensated care is delivered every day in all 67 counties of this state, without Medicaid, charity care needs could skyrocket, crippling the health care delivery system and potentially placing the burden on those with private health insurance through higher premiums and co-pays.
Alabama Medicaid is the backbone of our state, supporting the health and welfare of the young and elderly citizens that physicians have pledged to protect during their medical careers. Consequently, we cannot support any solution other than fully funding a program that touches so many lives. Allowing Alabama Medicaid to continue with adequate funding is a smart investment in Alabama and her citizens. The current appropriated budget will have dire consequences.
Physician practices, hospitals and nursing homes are among the economic engines driving many Alabama communities. Closure of these health care providers will have a devastating impact on the state of Alabama and the health and prosperity of its citizens. The ripple effect will be felt from Mobile to Huntsville.
Therefore we call on the legislature and the Governor to work toward a permanent revenue solution to fully fund Medicaid.
Our organizations strongly believe that Medicaid matters … to all Alabamians.
For more information or comment, please contact:
Mark Jackson, Medical Association of the State of Alabama, (334) 954-2500
Linda Lee, Alabama Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, (334) 954-2543
Jeff Arrington, Alabama Academy of Family Physicians, (334) 954-2570