Note: Bills that change current law do not show the amended text correctly below. Please view Original PDF to see amended sections: HJR 308 - Introduced - PDF
HJR308 192366-2 By Representatives Moore (M), Jackson, Grimsley, Rogers, Knight, Lawrence, Chestnut, Morrow, McCampbell, McClammy, Holmes (A), Hollis, Drummond, Clarke, England, Boyd, Coleman, Black, Warren, Beech, Forte, Bracy, Buskey, Hall and Todd RFD: Rules First Read: 06-MAR-18 192366-2:n:03/06/2018:DSM*/th LSA2018-668R1 EXPRESSING THE INTENT OF THE DEMOCRATIC MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE AND URGING THE GOVERNOR TO EXPAND MEDICAID IN THE STATE OF ALABAMA UNDER THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. WHEREAS, on April 6, 2015, Governor Robert Bentley created the Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force and charged it to bring recommendations to improve the health of Alabamians and make health care more accessible and more affordable; and WHEREAS, after thorough study and deliberation, the Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force found that the most serious obstacle to improving the health of Alabamians and making health care more accessible and affordable is the coverage gap that makes health insurance inaccessible to hundreds of thousands of Alabamians and places our entire health care infrastructure in financial jeopardy; and WHEREAS, according to the Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force, expanding Medicaid would mean the following for the State of Alabama: (1) Around 185,000 working Alabamians would get low-cost health insurance, more than half of Alabama's uninsured adults who fall within the proposed redesigned Medicaid income limits are working. Covering low-income adults would also reduce the burden of medical debt, now the leading cause of personal bankruptcy. (2) A win for the state budget, the state's budget would realize savings in other areas and increase revenues to the state which are estimated to be $1.7 billion per year in new revenue for state health care providers, $1.2 billion in new income per year to the rest of the state's economy, and associated tax revenues which could offset most or all of the state share. (3) Better access to care would improve chronic disease management and save lives, access to a primary care "health home" with preventative checkups and screenings, early detection and treatment of health problems, less dependence on costly emergency care, and regular OB/GYN visits without referral. Early diagnosis and treatment will improve health outcomes, increase workforce productivity and reduce state costs for chronic disease management and other expensive medical care. (4) Reducing the number of uninsured patients will keep hospitals open. Since 2011, five rural Alabama hospitals have closed. Forty-five percent of those remaining are operating in the red. These hospitals depend on federal dollars to offset the cost of serving a high proportion of low-income and uninsured patients; however, they have suffered due to the state's failure to expand Medicaid. (5) Reducing the number of uninsured patients will keep doctors practicing in areas of greatest need for doctors serving the uninsured and underinsured population, their bottom lines would improve and allow them to keep their employees paid and their offices open. (6) Thousands of underinsured Alabama veterans would gain health coverage if Alabama closed the health coverage gap. Many veterans do not qualify for long-term health benefits. An estimated 18,000 uninsured Alabama veterans and their spouses are being denied the Medicaid coverage they could receive in other states. (7) Accepting federal dollars to cover low-income adults could strengthen Medicaid reform, bringing newly eligible low-income adults into the new system at the higher matching rate would support health care services and infrastructure enhancements that benefit not only other Medicaid enrollees like children, pregnant women, aged, blind and disabled individuals, but all Alabamians. (8) Closing the coverage gap is a wise investment in Alabama's future. Thousands of hardworking people who cannot afford insurance will gain the peace of mind that coverage brings. Alabama businesses stand to gain a more reliable workforce and Alabama's economy stands to gain an infusion of federal dollars, more tax revenues and thousands of new health care jobs; and WHEREAS, according to the Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force, Medicaid expansion for less than a dime on the dollar is a bargain that Alabama cannot afford to pass up; and WHEREAS, the Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force recommended that the Governor and the Legislature move forward at the earliest opportunity to close Alabama's health coverage gap by expanding Medicaid; now therefore, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA, BOTH HOUSES THEREOF CONCURRING, That the members of the democratic party urge the Governor of the State of Alabama to expand Medicaid in this state under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to enhance access to health care, promote revenue and economic activity, and save and create jobs in this state. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to Governor Kay Ivey that she may know of the strong sentiments of the democratic members of the Legislature concerning this issue.