A deal providing $70 million in additional funding from the BP settlement to Medicaid was struck Thursday night in the Alabama House, providing a one-time patch to the ailing health care program on the last possible day to come to a compromise during the 2016 Regular Session.
Passing the House 82-12, the band-aid measure will come from the more than $1 billion in settlement funds from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill. The settlement isn’t paid in a lump sum, but is spread out over the next 17 years.
But the Medicaid patch is not the only part of the grand compromise.
Under the agreement, a $600 million bond would be taken out against the promise of the settlement, and used to pay back $448 million in debt obligations and $191 million in infrastructure funding to Mobile and Baldwin Counties, in addition to the funds going to Medicaid.
The $70 million Medicaid money is still $15 short of what the agency requested, and has detractors on both sides of the issue. Ed Henry, Republican of Hartselle and other legislators and interested parties are concerned this amounts to kicking the can down the road once again.
“What I do hate is the idea of spending one-time money on Medicaid,” said Henry.
The Senate left their record open to receive messages from the House, ensuring the compromise can be taken up by the upper body in the last two days of the Regular Session.
Both the House and Senate are adjourned until Tuesday. They are expected to reconvene Tuesday, and conclude the year’s session Wednesday.