Melson: Don’t cut Medicaid
MADISON – Sen. Tim Melson, M.D. warns about proposed cuts to Medicaid that the legislature is considering.
“I am deeply concerned about the future of healthcare in this state as a result of the ripple effects of proposed cuts to Alabama Medicaid,” Melson said. “If we want to improve and grow as a state and have job opportunities for our citizens, we cannot afford to let this happen.”
In the Alabama Senate, Melson represents District Six, comprised of all or parts of Madison, Limestone and Lauderdale counties. He serves on the Senate Finance & Taxation General Fund committee. He is a retired anesthesiologist.
“Healthcare is a multi-billion dollar business in this state, employing hundreds of thousands of Alabamians. I’m among many that believe Medicaid helps secure the foundation of our state healthcare ecosystem,” Melson said.
The legislature has discussed cuts from five to 25 percent in Medicaid.
“Worse, actual cuts would be much greater, considering that, for every dollar (cut) in state funding, we lose roughly $3 in federal matching funds. A $156 million cut then really means $600 million less injected into our healthcare system,” Melson said.
Melson contends that many Alabama rural hospitals, pediatrician offices and other healthcare professionals already “are teetering on the edge of closure. Over 1 million people are covered by Alabama Medicaid right now; more than half of those are children.”
“That represents nearly 21 percent of the state’s population. It’s a cross-section that affects rural, suburban and urban,” Melson said.
Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, “one of the finest medical facilities in the country, (revealed) that over 60 percent of its patients are covered by Alabama Medicaid. If you cut funding for those children, what is the likelihood that the hospital can continue to serve non-Medicaid patients?” Melson said. “Pretty slim.”
“Medicaid is at a turning point in Alabama. We can choose to reform the system or continue harsh cuts that will perpetuate the degradation of healthcare across Alabama,” he said.
Melson urges residents to contact their state representatives and senators about funding Medicaid.