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Medicaid funding changing

Medicaid funding in Alabama may soon get a complete overhaul.
Chairman of the Alabama House budget committee Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, proposed a $156 million cut in funding for the program earlier this month after the budget committee rejected a cigarette tax increase that was crucial to the funding plan.
Clouse said he considers Medicaid the foundation of health care in Alabama and doesn’t support the cuts. His 23 percent reduction is considered his way to force legislators to make a decision about the future of Medicaid in the state. The suggested budget would cut the state’s Medicaid funding from $685 million to $529 million.
The state’s Medicaid system would not only lose its own funding but also the 2-for-1 federal funding for the proposed cuts.
These cuts would affect not only Medicaid patients but also Medicaid providers.
As long as Medicaid stays intact, nursing homes and hospitals should still get their regular reimbursement, with most of the cutbacks within physician reimbursement and prescriptions. Medicaid prescriptions might become limited or certain types of medication could be no longer covered.
State Health Officer Don Williamson said the cutbacks could keep the state’s Medicaid program from complying with federal requirements, ending the state program.
According to recent statistics, about 1 million Alabamians qualify for Medicaid service, and Medicaid covered 53 percent of the state’s births, 47 percent of health care coverage for children and 60 percent of nursing home residents.