Alabama Arise to host a listening session on Medicaid, other policy solutions

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AriseAlabama Arise, a grassroots group aimed at protecting low-income families from harmful state policies, plans to host a listening session next week in Andalusia.

During the session, Arise representatives plan to discuss several healthcare related topics, including improving healthcare within the state, discussions on Medicaid, and pay-day lending.

The Covington County Grassroots Alliance joins Arise in co-sponsoring the event. Local organizer Steve Hubbard hopes at least 100 people will attend.

“There is a real issue with healthcare in the state and I hope people will come listen and speak out,” Hubbard told the Andalusia Star-News. “A number of counties in Alabama have seen rural hospitals closed within the last 12 months. Camden has closed its hospital doors and there has been a significant impact on lower-income healthcare because of it. I hope that healthcare professionals will also come to the listening session, because there has to be a concern about how this is affecting healthcare providers.”

This week, the Alabama Medicaid Agency opened a new public comment period on the proposed Medicaid work requirement.

The proposal would only apply to “able-bodied” Parent or Caretaker Relative (POCR) recipients — with exemptions being made for people with disabilities, anyone who pregnant or receiving postpartum care, anyone required to care for a disabled child or adult, among others — that will  require unemployed or underemployed adults to become gainfully employed, or participate in training opportunities to enhance their potential for full employment.

Alabama Arise have been opponents of the Medicaid work requirement since the proposal’s beginnings and will no doubt discuss it at the meeting.

“Alabama Medicaid’s work requirement proposal would create a no-win situation for thousands of parents living in deep poverty. They’ll lose health coverage if they don’t get a job – and if they do,” Arise Citizens’ Policy Project policy director Jim Carnes said in a press release.

“Any way you look at it, this proposal is nothing more than an expensive plan for denying health coverage to parents in deep poverty. Instead of punishing struggling families, our leaders need a vision for a healthier Alabama. We urge Gov. Ivey to save tax dollars, cut red tape and save lives by withdrawing this misguided plan.”

The Alabama Arise listening session will begin at 6 p.m. on August 14, at the Andalusia City Hall Auditorium.

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