Coalition takes position on proposed legislation
By By RUTH HARRELL Coalition chair
The Coalition for Healthier Escambia County met in Atmore at the Atmore Community Hospital on Thursday, February 17 at 7:00 AM.
The meeting was well attended with 15 members participating. Escambia County Sheriff Grove Smith presented the program focusing on Project Lifesaver. This program is most beneficial to the citizens of the county having relatives for whom wandering from the security of the home is a problem. The program provides, at no charge to the family or individual with the need, a security device that allows tracking and rescue of the individual within a very short time period. This program is available by simply making a call to the Sheriff's office and asking for assistance with Project Lifesaver.
The Coalition also voted to take a formal position on two very important bills currently in the lawmaking process of the Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature.
Support HB 135
There can be no doubt that one of the most important programs in the delivery of health care in the state is the Alabama Medicaid Program. Many of the state's taxpayers think that the Medicaid program only benefits the low income group but nothing could be further from the truth. A matter of fact is that Alabama's entire health care system is somewhat dependent on the funds generated by the Medicaid dollars. A major problem with Medicaid funding in Alabama is that there is no consistent funding base for the state funds required to "draw down" the Federal funds other than to state's General Fund. HB 135 would allow a 5 cents tax to be levied on soft drinks that would be earmarked to fund Medicaid , therefore benefiting all Medicaid programs
Support HB 343 &SB 250
The second legislative action that the Coalition is asking that you join in supporting is a bill that will strengthen the Child Passenger Safety law. Current Alabama law does not adequately protect children over the age of four regardless of weight. In 2003, 23 children ages 4-8 were either killed or catastrophically injured in auto crashes. Children under 80 pounds are not protected by adult seat belts during auto crashes. This bill will require that children not meeting specific physical criteria be restrained in a manner appropriate for their size. This might mean that they would need to ride in an extender seat until the reach the appropriate physical size for adult seat restraints.
The Coalition will be contacting the county legislative delegation asking for their support as well as local and county governing bodies asking that they support this legislation as well. Please consider joining with members of the Coalition in seeking widespread support for these bills.