Happy anniversary – not! 2020 marks the 10th year of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, but not in Alabama. We’re one of just 14 states that have rejected federal funding to extend affordable health coverage to adults with low incomes. And soon, Kansas may cut that number to 13.
The stakes have only gotten higher as time has passed. Over the last 10 years, Alabama has:
- Seen 13 hospital closures, including seven rural ones.
- Given up more than $1 billion a year in federal Medicaid funding.
- Forfeited a similar amount in related economic activity.
- Allowed thousands of preventable deaths.
- Stranded more than 220,000 Alabamians in the coverage gap, unable to qualify for Medicaid or afford private coverage.
- Left tens of thousands more struggling to pay for health insurance they can barely afford.
After a decade of missed opportunity, Alabama needs to invest in our people and our future. Uninsured working parents, caregivers, veterans, people awaiting disability determinations, adult students and other Alabamians with low wages are putting off needed health care. Nearly 90% of our rural hospitals are operating in the red. People and communities across our state are suffering unnecessarily, and it’s time to do something about it.
What will it take to move Alabama forward?
This can and should be the year for Medicaid expansion in Alabama. It’s an overdue move that would bring our federal tax dollars home to stabilize our rural hospitals and clinics. It would provide critical investment in local economies. And it would increase economic security for struggling Alabamians.
Success would not require passing a bill. Gov. Kay Ivey could simply request a Medicaid rule change raising the eligibility limit for adults, including those without children. A legislative panel that reviews rule changes could allow Medicaid to seek permission from Washington. If that gets the OK, Medicaid would simply factor expansion costs into its next annual budget.
Arise members have identified Medicaid expansion as a top priority. It’s the single biggest step Alabama could take to make life better for people with low incomes. And we’re working hard to make it happen.
We need you with us as we work to make Medicaid expansion a reality in our state. Please join Alabama Arise or renew your membership today to add your voice to our chorus for change. Together, we can build a better Alabama!