Alabamians often are surprised to learn that Medicaid is a major engine for the state's economy. Medicaid creates thousands of jobs, supports rural hospitals and the state's only children's hospital, pays for medical equipment that all patients use, boosts tax revenue in local communities and enhances our quality of life. Medicaid touches the lives of average Alabamians who never need the agency's services themselves.
Alabama Medicaid is in the bull's-eye for cuts as the Legislature looks to balance the FY 2013 General Fund budget in the face of a revenue shortfall. This fact sheet examines what's at stake in the Medicaid budget challenge.
Many, if not all, Alabama hospitals have traditionally offered financial planning and assistance to their patients. Admitting personnel usually notify "self-pay" patients (those whose payments will not be covered by insurance) and their families about this service upon admission to the hospital or during registration for emergency or outpatient services. However, if uninsured people need hospital admission or outpatient services and are unaware of this help, they may be reluctant to seek care, fearing their budgets cannot bear the hospital charges.
Now, with the passage of Act 2009-712, hospitals that offer financial assistance plans must disclose them publicly and in a specified manner. Read our handout to learn more.
In a year of hope, confusion and frustration on health care reform, one thing remained clear: Expanding coverage in a poor state like Alabama will improve lives -- if people can find the care they need.
This fact sheet examines Alabama's health care provider shortage as a critical challenge for policymakers in the new decade.
The Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962), passed by the U.S. House on November 7, would significantly expand affordable health coverage, slow the growth of health care costs and make much-needed reforms in the health insurance market. It would also reduce the federal budget deficit. None of Alabama's seven House members voted for the bill.
The following fact sheets outline, in reverse order, the various proposals that preceded the final bill:
The House Tri-Committee bill (earlier version of the House-passed bill)
Of the five congressional committees (three House, two Senate) offering health care reform proposals this year, the Senate Finance Committee on Oct. 13 became the last to present its plan -- and the first to win a single Republican vote. In striving for at least token bipartisan support, the Finance Committee hoped to provide a model of reform that could actually pass into law.