Editorial: Alabama healthcare - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Editorial: Alabama healthcare

The following is an editorial from FOX6 WBRC-TV General Manager Lou Kirchen, first aired on Tuesday, September 24.

Alabama has been on the record and "on the clock" all year regarding our Governor's decision to not participate and therefore not receive the available Alabama federal dollars for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. This decision is far reaching and the numbers are staggering.

A total of 300,000 Alabamians who would have been eligible for Medicaid coverage - will not receive health care; $375 million dollars a quarter or $1.5 billion dollars annually in federal aid dollars will not be available to Alabama's already beleaguered Medicaid system starting in January; the expansion is 100% federally funded for the first 3 years and 90% funded each year after; and according to a study by economists at the UAB medical center, approval of the Medicaid expansion could bring in $20 billion dollars in new state income including $1.6 billion in tax revenues. Tax revenues that would go toward our state's education general fund...another area, many would agree, that is in dire need of additional funding.

To borrow from football terminology, Medicaid in Alabama has just been issued a "two minute warning" and we need our coach (the Governor) to not punt on this one. All practical reasoning points to moving forward with expansion...but politics is getting in the way. That can't happen and that's why we're calling a time-out and asking that our governor change his position and move to expand Medicaid in Alabama...before the clock runs out and all Alabamians lose.

Governor, certainly you can turn that into a WIN for Alabama AND a Political WIN for you…all at the same time.

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