Bentley: Medicaid in danger under current budget

Bentley: Medicaid in danger under current budget

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Gov. Robert Bentley held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the potential impact of the General Fund Budget's  appropriation for the Alabama's Medicaid Agency.

"For a number of years we have tried to make our Medicaid agency more effective, more steam-lined, and more efficient," the governor says, "We have tried to improve the lives of the people in this state, the one million people who depend on medicaid...and we did that."

The governor stressed his belief, however that the state's health care system, under this budget, is in trouble. Rural doctors, hospitals, pharmacists and others are all impacted by the budget. Bentley says he has asked Medicaid to come up with a list of possible cuts to be reviewed within the coming days.

"We are going to have to make some very tough decisions. After we look at the options, we will make those tough decisions." the governor says.

Alabama Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar presented some of the options that will be considered. Azar says Medicaid is $85 million short for what it needs to sustain the current system and to move forward with the transformation of Regional Care Organizations.

"I think today it is very important for recipients to know that their access to care is at risk and for the Medicaid providers in the state to start preparing for the impact of these cuts," Azar said.

Some of the options included for potential cuts are eyeglasses for adults, elimination of $3.7 million in outpatient dialysis, and elimination of prosthetics and orthotics. The cuts could also eliminate $16.6 million in health home and physician case management fees.

Raycom Political Reporter Michael Doudna is covering this story and will have more details coming up on-air and online. Check back here for updates.

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