In addition to a shortage of health care providers, Alabama’s hospitals are struggling on the business side due to the convoluted structure of insurance.
Medicaid expansion was notably absent in the 2023 session. But proponents are back with the same tired arguments, likely already eyeing another push in 2024, if not before.
Those on both sides of the Medicaid expansion debate want Alabamians to have access to high quality and affordable healthcare. Where they differ is whether the government or the free market is best suited to provide it.
The Alliance of Alabama Healthcare Consumers “does not have a position on Medicaid expansion,” according to Robin Stone, the group’s new executive director.
Medicaid expansion proponents have a new ally in their effort, according to State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur).
Despite rumblings suggesting otherwise, incoming House General Fund Budget chairman State Rep. Rex Reynolds (R-Huntsville), who was named to the post last week, said he did not see a "broad expansion" of Medicaid in the near future.
On its face, it is understandable why Medicaid expansion is tempting for some lawmakers. The federal government currently pays a 90% match rate for states that elect to expand coverage.
Although it is not clear who among legislative Republicans would take up the cause of Medicaid expansion, State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) says it does not mean there won't be an attempt in the new quadrennium that begins next year.
Health care continues to be a concern for state policymakers as the 2023 legislative session approaches.
Former Gov. Robert Bentley was a one-time Medicaid expansion opponent. However, since leaving office in 2017, Bentley has changed his stance.
Two members of the Alabama Senate are very bearish on the prospects of any effort gaining legislative approval.
There is a real possibility later in the year and into early 2023 that Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Legislature could move to expand Medicaid eligibility in Alabama, which would come at a considerable cost to state budgets.
The reality that so many pro Medicaid expansion advocates seem to ignore is that Alabama already expanded Medicaid coverage for new mothers and their children, before the Roe decision.
During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show," State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) downplayed the possibility of the legislature going along with Medicaid expansion plans and urged Ivey to pursue "bold initiatives."