Affordable Care Act

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley
Alex AuBuchon / APR

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley visited two Tuscaloosa mental health facilities yesterday. He wants to stress the need for Medicaid funding in the state.

The Governor visited the Arc of Tuscaloosa County and Indian Rivers Mental Health Clinic. Both facilities help individuals with mental illness and intellectual and developmental disabilities. And both organizations depend heavily on Medicaid funding in order to provide services. Bentley is advocating for an increase of at least $85 million in Medicaid funding to stave off cuts.

If any Alabamians missed out on signing up for coverage associated with the Affordable Care Act, there is still time to do so. APR’s MacKenzie Bates explains. says it will be extending Tuesday’s deadline to sign up for health insurance to tonight. The reason is high demand among health care consumers who wanted coverage starting January 1. The new cutoff point is tonight at midnight PST.

Officials say the surge in consumer demand caused some applicants to wait at the call center or while trying to log into

Alabama death row

The Alabama Supreme Court has refused to stop an execution scheduled for next month.

In a unanimous decision yesterday, justices refused inmate Christopher Brooks' request to stop his execution. A federal judge is expected to rule soon on Brooks' request for a stay.

Brooks is scheduled to be put to death Jan. 21 for the rape and murder of Deann Campbell more than 20 years ago. The execution would be Alabama's first in more than two years.

Sureshbhai Patel
Brynn Anderson / AP

The state of Alabama’s effort to cut off Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood facilities was shut down in federal court yesterday.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson is ordering the state of Alabama to restore funding to Planned Parenthood. He says the state had no legal reason to cancel the agreement between those facilities and Medicaid providers.

Susan Watson is the Executive Director of the ACLU of Alabama. She says the judge’s ruling should be the end of this funding discussion.

Eric Parker
Brynn Anderson / AP

Federal prosecutors are trying for a second time to convict former Madison police officer Eric Parker of using unreasonable force when questioning an Indian man in February.

57 year old Sureshbhai Patel appears to have been slammed to the ground by Parker in a police dash camera video.

Robert Posey is the first assistant U.S. attorney for the northern district. He says the prosecution has good evidence on their side.

The United States Supreme Court upheld a ruling yesterday declaring that tax subsidies for health care from the federal government are constitutional.

In Alabama, that’s good news for more than 130,000 people that purchased insurance through the Affordable Care Act. In most cases, the federal tax breaks on those plans were what made them affordable enough to purchase.

Alabama on SCOTUS's ACA Ruling, Coosa River Fish Survery

Jun 25, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court says federal tax subsidies for health care should stay. That's been perceived as good news for more than one hundred and thirty thousand Alabamians. That's how many people in our state afford insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Ron Pollack is the Executive Director of Families USA, a national advocacy organization for health care consumers. He says today’s Supreme Court decision may encourage Alabama and other states to expand Medicaid…

The Obama administration is touting the apparent success of the Affordable Care Act in Alabama on its fifth anniversary.

It was on this date in 2010 when the President signed The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says one hundred and seventy one thousand Alabamians were enrolled during the most recent sign-up period.

HHS Regional Director Pamela Roshell** says there’s wellness care available through the act along with insurance coverage…

Joyce Hardin Garrard
Eric T. Wright, AP

A jury will debate whether to recommend the death penalty today after convicting the woman accused of running her granddaughter to death of capital murder.

The panel will hear additional evidence for sentencing today as they decide between execution or life in prison without parole for 49 year old grandmother Joyce Hardin Garrard. The judge has the final say.

The prosecution is seeking the death penalty. They argue Garrard brutally forced the girl to run for hours as punishment until she collapsed into seizures.


 April fifteenth is a long way away. But, if you want to get a head start on filing your income taxes, the Internal Revenue Service will start accepting your paperwork today. The IRS is also pushing a new on-line service called free file. It’s the same thing as the internet tax program called e-file. But, the free file program is free of charge if you earn less than sixty thousand dollars a year. IRS spokeswoman Alejandra Castro-Nunez** says it’s a good way to go because the system keeps track of your information as you put it in…

The phrases "Internal Revenue Service" and "free of charge" may not seem to go together. But the people who collect your income taxes every year are offering a new system that’s available at no cost.

The FreeFile internet program is free for taxpayers who earn less than $60,000 per year. The system keeps track of your information and calculations as you fill out your tax forms and tells you if you make a mistake.

If you’ve been craving your girl scout cookie fix, then today is your day. Girl scouts start taking orders today for the annual fundraising drive by the Girl Scouts of America.

Familiar flavors like thin mints, Savannahs, and Do-See-Does will be joined by gluten free varieties. Those new products are called Toffee-Tastics and Trios.

Hannah Wallace is the Director of Communications and Marketing for the Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama. She says customers can send cookies to U.S. soldiers overseas with a program called Operation Cookie Drop.


Florida became the latest state to legalize same sex marriage this week. APR student reporter Kristen Feyt says supporters are speaking out in favor of the decision…

U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Alabama consumers will see more competition when the health insurance marketplace opens Nov. 15 for its second year.

United Healthcare has signed up to offer individual policies in all 67 counties. UHC did not participate the first year. Regulators say Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama will be back in all counties. Humana will again offer policies in Jefferson, Shelby and Madison counties.

Alabama Arise spokesman Jim Carnes says increased competition should be good for consumers.

The enrollment period is Nov. 15 through Feb. 15.

A new report details who exactly would benefit from expanded Medicaid in Alabama.  The advocacy group Alabama Arise and the national Families USA are highlighting the professions of the people who are being caught in the so-called “Medicaid Gap.”  Those are people who make too little to qualify for subsidies under the healthcare law but too much to qualify for Medicaid.  Authors of the Affordable Care Act had planned for states to expand Medicaid but many Republican-leanin

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange says he goes to work every day and thinks of a way to sue the Obama administration. reports that Strange made the comment in a speech to the Republican Women of Huntsville. He told the group Tuesday that part of his oath of office compelled him in that pursuit. He described it as a full-time job that's the best job in Alabama politics. Strange has sued over the Affordable Care Act, opposed the Obama administration on environmental regulations and filed court briefs in several cases involving federal policy.

  A Catholic broadcaster is asking for a Supreme Court injunction as it pursues a lawsuit against requiring employers to include contraception in their health care coverage.

A federal judge dismissed the suit filed by the Eternal Word Television Network on June 18. The network is planning an appeal, but says it needs a Supreme Court injunction before a July 1 deadline for complying with the national health care law.


All year long, Alabama Public Radio is collaborating with A-L-dot-com on the Affordable Care Act. The federal deadline to sign-up for health insurance is now well in the rear view mirror and you find yourself without health care. You don’t receive insurance from your employer. You don’t qualify for Medicaid, and you didn’t sign up in the federal marketplace during the open-enrollment. The Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate says that Americans have to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty.

A federal judge in Mobile is dismissing key legal claims made by an Alabama-based Catholic broadcaster that sued to block the federal government's rules on contraception for employees.

U.S. District Judge Callie Granade issued the order Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by the Eternal Word Television Network, which is based in the Birmingham suburb of Irondale.

The broadcasting group says it will appeal. The state of Alabama is siding with the media organization.

All year long on Alabama Public Radio, we’re collaborating with to examine the Affordable Care Act.  When it comes to healthcare, Alabama has its problems. So does the commonwealth of Kentucky.  The difference is, the Bluegrass state is going about it differently and they seem to be getting results. 

U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that nearly 98,000 people in Alabama selected a plan in the federally operated health insurance marketplace.

The report released Thursday says about 58 percent were women. The biggest age group was those 18 to 34, who made up 31 percent of the people who selected a plan. The next biggest age group was 55 to 64, with 25 percent of the plan selections.

More women and people between ages 18 to 34 enrolled in Alabama plans than the national average.

U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Hundreds of Alabamians are rushing to meet the Monday night deadline to sign up for health insurance under the federal health care law.

The student-led group Bama Covered had a large crowd turn out Sunday for an event in Birmingham. Co-founder Josh Carpenter says they helped about 100 enroll. He says many others wanted to sign up, but they were in the gap where they make too much to get Medicaid coverage but they don't make enough to qualify for the tax breaks in the health insurance program.

U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Programs are being planned across Alabama this weekend to help people sign up for health insurance through the federally operated marketplace before Monday's night deadline. Alabama Arise says enrollment events are being held Saturday at St. Stephens AME Church and the Moorer Public Library in Mobile, as well as at Medical Outreach Ministries in Montgomery. The student-led group Bama Covered is planning an event Sunday afternoon in Railroad Park in Birmingham. Mayor William Bell and U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell will speak, and people will provide assistance to anyone wanting to enroll.

Monday is the last day for the uninsured to start signing up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.  Anyone who hasn’t at least started the process of signing up by then will have no other way of doing so until November and will face a penalty.  Bill Corr is Deputy Secretary with the US Department of Health and Human Services. 

Bill Corr: “It’s important for people to sign up by then.  If they don’t, it’ll be November before they have another enrollment period.  If you signed up next November, you’d have insurance starting in January.”

The deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is Monday.  All this week, and for the rest of the year, Alabama Public Radio is partnering with AL.Com to bring you stories on how Alabamians are coping with the changes.  One issue that’s having an immediate impact is the so-called Medicaid gap.  The authors of the Affordable Care Act had intended for low-income people to get covered under expanded Medicaid.  But when the U.S.

U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Nearly 44,000 Alabamians have used the federal health care law to sign up for insurance through Alabama's federally operated insurance exchange.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that 18,024 Alabamians signed up in January. The sign-ups began in October with 624, grew to 2,824 by the end of November and increased to 25,839 in December. They grew to 43,863 by the end of January.

U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

The number of Alabamians signing up for the federally operated health insurance marketplace jumped significantly in the last month, with more than 28,600 signed up through late December.

Enrollment under the federal health care law started Oct. 1, and about 3,450 in Alabama had signed up through the end of November.

Gov. Robert Bentley says his disagreement with state pension fund Chief David Bronner over expanding the state Medicaid program had nothing to do with new controls being placed on Bronner's investment authority.

Bentley says one of his appointees to a Retirement Systems board came up with a resolution requiring the board's investment committee to approve Bronner's investments. Bentley said Tuesday that he didn't know about the resolution until after it happened, but he supports the oversight.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama

Alabama's largest health insurance company, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, says it won't reinstate health plans that don't comply with the federal health care law.

Blue Cross made the announcement Wednesday in response to the president's remarks last week that consumers should be allowed to renew individual plans slated to end under the federal law.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is awarding more than $3.5 million in Affordable Care Act funding to support health care centers in Alabama.

Department Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday that the funding will help expand the delivery of health care services in the state, which is expected to impact more than 20,700 Alabamians. Officials say the funding is expected to support five health care centers in Alabama.