MONTGOMERY CO., AL (WSFA) - Think just because you or your children aren't covered under Medicaid that the looming $85 million shortfall won't affect you?
Healthcare professionals are warning of a dangerous domino effect that threatens the delivery of care.
An Alabama pediatrician says bottom line, if you have a child that lives in the State of Alabama you are at risk if Medicaid is cut.
Dr. Cathy Wood says 25 to 30 percent of her patients are covered under Medicaid, and if they lose funding for those kids they will have to cut staff.
On top of that, Wood says if Medicaid is not adequately funded, the patients that have been phased out of primary care will be forced to turn to already over-loaded emergency rooms.
"You take that funding away then you cut what the hospital runs on. If you cut what the hospital runs on then they got to cut services and those services could be services that your child specifically needs, so Medicaid impacts everybody," says Dr. Wood, Partners in Pediatrics and the Chapter President of the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Wood says figuring out how to serve Medicaid patients from one year to the next is "maddening," and although she is not a legislator the only solution that comes to mind is the dirty words "tax increases."
The shortfall will also cause the state to miss out on $747 million in federal funds over the next five years.