Medical community supports session
Published 12:01 am Thursday, July 28, 2016
Members of the state medical community quickly praised Gov. Robert Bentley yesterday for announcing he will call a special session in which he plans to propose a lottery as a cure for Alabama’s financial shortfalls.
“Alabama’s hospitals welcome the governor’s announcement that he will be calling a special session to address the state’s critical funding shortages,” said Donald E. Williamson, MD, president of the Alabama Hospital Association. “Programs, such as Medicaid, that are critical to the state’s infrastructure and economy cannot continue to be supported with one-time revenue patches, and cuts to the already bare-bones program are unsustainable. We agree that a long-term funding source must be identified and are interested in any solutions for additional revenue, including the exploration of a lottery. However, until the details of a lottery proposal are known, our Association’s position is that we support the concept of a lottery and the right of Alabamians to vote on it.”
The Medical Association of the State of Alabama, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians also issued a joint statement, which read in part, “Our organizations applaud the governor and are encouraged that he has taken the first step toward fully funding Alabama Medicaid by announcing his intention to call a special session.
“In addition to the need for long-term funding, there is also a critical need to fix the $85 million shortfall in the 2017 budget, which the lottery will not do because of the time necessary for implementation. Consequently, it is important that the governor and lawmakers find both a solution for 2017 and a long-term a revenue stream for Alabama Medicaid. We are concerned that the governor did not address a short-term funding solution in his announcement today.”
Many legislative watchers predict that Bentley will propose using BP oil spill money to shore up the Medicaid shortfall, then repay it with lottery proceeds.