Following the Alabama Legislature’s vote to override Gov. Robert Bentley‘s veto of the General Fund budget, Bentley announced announced at a press conference Wednesday the Alabama Medicaid Agency is considering several significant cuts to their services in an effort to operate within the means of the new 2017 budget. Bentley said the budget comes up $85 million short of what the federal government requires for assistance.
“For a number of years we have tried to make our Medicaid agency more effective, more steam-lined, and more efficient,” Bentley said. “We have tried to improve the lives of the people in this state, the one million people who depend on medicaid… and we did that.”
Bentley said he has asked the Medicaid Agency, which provides health care to roughly one million Alabamians, to come up with a list of possible cuts to be reviewed within the coming days.
Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar joined Bentley listing some options up for consideration such as eliminating prescription drug coverage for adults, adult eyeglasses, prosthetics, outpatient dialysis, or requiring patients to go to one big box pharmacy, among others.
“I think today it is very important for recipients to know that their access to care is at risk and for the Medicaid providers in the state to start preparing for the impact of these cuts,” Azar said.
The governor has previously suggested he might call a special session on Medicaid funding, but said Wednesday that he has yet to make a decision.
“We are going to have to make some very tough decisions. After we look at the options, we will make those tough decisions,” said Bentley.