Alabama lawmakers to hold hearings on state’s Medicaid dilemma

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The countdown is on for Alabama lawmakers to come up with a solution for $85 million shortfall to fund the state’s Medicaid program in the eight remaining legislative days — or else risk coming back for a special session.

Part of an ongoing budget impasse, funding for the state’s Medicaid program — which covers approximately a million Alabamians — has been an hot-button topic in the Legislature this year. Last month Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley vetoed the state’s General Fund budget over the lack of Medicaid funding, but lawmakers bucked his veto and voted to override it.

The House and Senate general fund budget committee have scheduled a joint meeting Wednesday to discuss the Medicaid shortfall.

Bentley and Alabama Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar have said the program will see cuts in Medicaid services without additional funds, which could force the state to eliminate prescription drug coverage for adults, adult eyeglasses, prosthetics, outpatient dialysis, or requiring patients to go to one big box pharmacy, among other possibilities.

“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.


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