Alabama vote on Medicaid considered critical
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The man who is temporarily overseeing funding for Alabama's health care program for the poor says Medicaid will be in deep trouble if voters do not approve a Sept. 18 referendum to take more than $437 million from a state trust fund and use it to prevent huge cuts in spending on state programs for three years. State Health Officer Don Williamson said without receiving money from the trust fund the Medicaid program would be $100 million in the red. He said this could jeopardize programs that provide medicine for poor patients, reduce payments for doctors who treat Medicaid patients, send more poor patients to emergency rooms and eliminate optional Medicaid programs such as providing life-saving dialysis treatment. Opponents say the crisis can be solved without raiding the state's savings.