Special session possibly looming if Medicaid doesn't receive funding

Special session possibly looming if Medicaid doesn't receive funding

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Another round of special sessions may soon be looming over the Alabama legislature due to the fact that Medicaid still faces an $85 million hole.

On Thursday, Governor Robert Bentley hinted that if lawmakers don't find a solution, they will be called back to fix the problem this Summer.

"I expect there to be a special session on Medicaid because it is the big guy in the room," House Speaker Mike Hubbard said.

"Well I hope that is not necessary, I really do," Bentley said. "I hope they are able to solve this without a special session."

Right now, avoiding a special session seems unlikely.

"Well I say he better plan a special session, because I do not see any way that we are going to come up with more than the $15 million that came out of the House so I still think we are $100 million short," Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh said. "And there again, there is no appetite for taxes, there is no appetite for taking money from education so I don't see where the money is going to come from."

As Medicaid continues to grow faster than the general fund, some lawmakers feel they cannot continue to fund Medicaid at the expense of other agencies.

"I mean, what are you going to do differently? The only thing you could do is to cut every agency by $85 million and give it to Medicaid. Well all that does is create a crisis in the other agencies," Hubbard said "I think that right now, with the revenues that we have and what we can appropriate, I think this is the best budget we can come up with."

If the state does not fund Medicaid, it could mean more issues.

According to Alabama's Medicaid commissioner, the state would miss out on more than $700 million in federal dollars and a 22 percent cut across the board.

Lawmakers expect the general fund to be on the House floor on Tuesday.

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