Alabama Medicaid

It’s been almost one week since the Legislature ended a special session without a general fund budget.

Governor Robert Bentley is expected to call another special session to deal with a projected $200 million shortfall in the state’s coffers.

As both chambers remain divided on the issue, the house did vote in favor of cutting $156 million from Medicaid before passing their version of the budget.

Huntsville Republican Representative Phil Williams says he was ashamed of that vote, but he believes the move sent a message throughout Montgomery.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is cutting off Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood in the wake of undercover videos implying the group was selling fetal tissue to research groups.

Governor Bentley called Planned Parenthood's practices "deplorable” in a statement yesterday. He says he doesn't want Alabama to be associated with the group. Bentley says the state is terminating an agreement with Planned Parenthood Southeast to serve as a Medicaid provider.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Time is running out for the Alabama Legislature to work out a general fund budget, but the state Senate is beginning to iron out the details.

State agency heads told members of the Senate Budget Committee yesterday that proposed cuts will close circuit clerk offices, slash Medicaid services and send state prisons into a danger zone of crowding and violence.

Committee Chairman Arthur Orr says there are close to $150 million in revenue-generating bills under discussion that could reduce the cuts if they win legislative approval.

Alabama’s general fund budget is slowly starting to take shape after some action in the state house.

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee has approved a budget that makes deep cuts to state agencies. The budget would cut Medicaid, mental health and state prisons corrections by five percent. Other state agencies would be cut by nine percent.

This proposal would impact the general fund budget. Alabama’s schools are funded by a separate spending plan.

Committee members throughout the Alabama Legislature have a busy day ahead of them.

The Senate Education Committee will hold a public hearing this morning on a bill aiming to repeal the Common Core curriculum standards.

The House Ways and Means Education Committee will also consider changes to the Alabama Accountability Act, a state program that provides scholarships to help some families pay for private school.

mobilechamber.com

      

Governor Robert Bentley may be softening his position on expanding Medicaid. APR’s Pat Duggins reports…

nasa.gov

The Alabama Supreme Court has heard arguments on the constitutionality of a law that gives low-income families tax credits to pay for private school.

A lawyer representing individuals challenging the Alabama Accountability Act said Wednesday that it does an end run on Alabama's prohibition of using education funds to support private religious schools.

However, a lawyer representing families using the credits said it supports parents seeking education opportunities for their children, not private schools.

PBS

State officials say Alabama Medicaid's monthly enrollment has topped 1 million for the first time.

Officials said Thursday that a review of data for the first five months of the year show the milestone happened in February. Officials attribute the increase to a federally required transfer of children from the state's All Kids program and changes in how Medicaid eligibility is determined. Officials say the numbers also reflect the first enrollment of individuals who applied for coverage through the federal health exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act.

governor.alabama.gov

Gov. Robert Bentley is proposing state budgets that would require most state agencies to get by next year with about the same amount they are receiving this year.

Bentley's proposals include increases for all levels of public education.

Bentley's office released his recommended budgets Tuesday, which is the second day of the Legislature's 2014 session.

Bentley's state General Fund budget for the next fiscal year would spend $1.8 billion. The biggest increase is $70 million is for Medicaid. Courts would get a small increase.

University of Wisconsin

Voting rights groups and Alabama officials have reached an agreement to make sure people applying for social services receive voter registration material.

The Alabama State Conference of the NAACP and others announced the agreement Tuesday. It calls for the state to proactively offer voter registration services to people when they apply for, renew or submit a change of address to the state Medicaid Agency or state Department of Human Resources.

blog.al.com

A Wal-Mart Stores Inc. representative offered a proposal to a state Medicaid reform panel that would make the chain Alabama's main provider of drugs through Medicaid.

Members of the Alabama Medicaid Pharmacy Study Commission heard the proposal Thursday. Panel members were appointed by Gov. Robert Bentley to look for ways to save money on drugs dispensed through Medicaid, the state and federal medical insurance program.

blog.al.com

The federal government says Alabama should repay almost $90 million in Medicaid funding.

A report from the Office of Inspector General says the federal government gave Alabama too much Medicaid bonus money in 2009 and 2010.

The report says that's because the state Medicaid agency used improper calculations to compute how many children participated in the program.

State Health Officer Don Williamson says the state agency made what he calls an "honest mistake" that resulted in the state's report being off by about 90,000 children.

al.com

Alabama Medicaid officials have divided the state into five districts under a new care management plan that's supposed to streamline the system.

   The Legislature earlier this year approved a reorganization of Medicaid into districts around the state. State Health Officer Don Williamson, the acting Medicaid director, said it was difficult to decide how to divide the counties, and added that some counties could be shifted before the map is finalized Oct. 1.

al.com

Alabama Medicaid officials have divided the state into five districts under a new care management plan.

   The Legislature earlier this year approved a reorganization of Medicaid into districts around the state. Acting Medicaid Director State Health Officer Don Williamson says it was difficult to decide how to divide the counties, and added that some counties could be shifted before the map is finalized Oct. 1.

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