MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Session is rolling along but the legislative bus is about to be back in the General Fund ditch. The General Fund has for many years been the thorn in the state's side and will again prove to be an enormous problem in 2016.
Last year it was a host of issues with the fund, none of which were solved. This year we do not hear about ALEA or roads or driver's license offices, but those problems are still around.
We do hear about prisons. The Governor thinks he has a plan that will help solve our overcrowding issues for the long term. The legislature does not seem to be as excited about the funding part of the plan but I have not heard any real alternatives.
Then there is Medicaid.
Medicaid makes up almost 45% of the total General Fund budget and those in charge want 100 million more. Many Republican legislators say 15 million is all there is. I often start with, "I am not a politician", but and here I go again.
I am not a politician but it seems to me that Medicaid spending is out of control. I know that a good portion of the money is federal and not state, but that is still our taxes.
Alabama is a poor state. I understand that. Medical services need to be provided. I understand that. What are we doing as a state to lower the costs of Medicaid? Lower the number of people on Medicaid? At some point soon 50% of our state's general fund budget will be to fund Medicaid.
Both answers on the table today are wrong. More funding for a system that is not working? No. Less funding, therefore losing federal funding and reducing care for certain individuals that require it? No. We as a state, and for that matter a country, have to look at Medicaid and Medicare and find ways to cut costs.
The first step could be to take it out of the government's hands