McCutcheon, Ward, Whatley, and Patterson awarded for autism bill efforts

January 2, 2018

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The National Autism Law Summit was held in San Diego, California.  Several members of the Alabama legislative delegation were awarded as legislative champions for their efforts to pass legislation requiring that insurers cover autism therapy.  State Representative Jim Patterson, R-Meridianville, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, state Senate Tom Whatley, R-Lee County, and Senate Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, shared in the group’s Legislator of the Year award for their efforts.

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A Christmas of light, hope and acceptance

December 25, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

For Christians around the world, Christmas is a special day set aside to remember, honor and celebrate the birth of the Christ Child Jesus. It is also the season when we remember children, friends, family and neighbors. It is a time of giving when at least, for a moment, we wish peace on Earth and goodwill to all.

And here in Alabama as around the country we are all perhaps a little better because many not born here join us in the Christmas celebration even though they are Hindu, Buddhist or other faiths. They embrace Christmas not because they love Christ but because they want to be good Americans. It’s sad that some have let fear overtake our nation’s history of embracing immigrants. It seems, at times, that open arms have become clenched fists.

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No federal funding for CHIP could cost more than 83,000 Alabama kids their health insurance

October 3, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

If the U.S. Congress can’t get to a deal on funding for the Child Health Insurance Program, more than 80,000 children in Alabama could be without health insurance as soon as next spring.

Congress last week failed to reauthorize funding for the program, which expired on Sept. 30 at the end of the 2017 Fiscal Year. And without that federal funding, Alabama’s “All Kids” Chip program could be exhausted by early next year.

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Alabama Supreme Court halts refunds to public education employees

September 13, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Supreme Court has put a hold on the return of millions of dollars to state educators while the justices consider an appeal of a ruling that deemed Public Education Employees Health Insurance Plan premium increases illegal.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Johnny Hardwick ruled in August that a meeting of the PEEHIP board in April 2016, at which members voted to raise premiums, was held illegally. That meant that the premium increases paid in by all PEEHIP members – some $60 million – would have to be returned.

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Judge rules in favor of AEA in PEEHIP lawsuit, striking down health insurance rate hike

August 22, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Education Association has won a lawsuit alleging that the Retirement System of Alabama PEEHIP Board met illegally and improperly raised state employees’ health insurance rates.

A Montgomery County Judge, Johnny Hardwick, issued the ruling Sunday in favor of the AEA. In the 13-page order, Hardwick agreed with the AEA’s allegation that the meeting — which ended in an increase in premiums and surcharges on spouses’ rates — was held outside of the purview of the Alabama Open Meetings Act, ruling the rate changes invalid.

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With Trump’s inauguration, many Alabamians wonder what happens after Obamacare repeal

January 20, 2017

Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

OPELIKA, Ala.—In Opelika, Alabama, there is a small office, tucked away on the second floor of a law practice along the small town’s main street. There’s no sign on the front door indicating its placement, and most wouldn’t know it’s there.

The office belongs to Hannah Duncan, a recent graduate of Auburn University who works as a health care navigator for EnrollAlabama, an organization that helps sign low- and middle-income Alabamians up for health insurance coverage through the federal health insurance exchange set up by President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law.

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Alabamians wonder what happens after Obamacare is repealed

January 20, 2017

Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

OPELIKA — In Opelika, Alabama, there is a small office, tucked away on the second floor of a law practice along the small town’s main street. There’s no sign on the front door indicating its placement, and most wouldn’t know it’s there.

The office belongs to Hannah Duncan, a recent graduate of Auburn University who works as a health care navigator for EnrollAlabama, an organization that helps sign low- and middle-income Alabamians up for health insurance coverage through the federal health insurance exchange set up by President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law.

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Suit Claims Alabama Pays Higher Insurance Rates Due to “Anticompetitive Conduct” by BCBS

November 2, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—A Federal class-action/anti-trust suit against Blue Cross BlueShield of Alabama and 37 others is being heard in Birmingham. The suit alleges that “The Individual Blue Plans’ anticompetitive conduct has also resulted in higher premiums for their enrollees for over a decade,” and this has led to, “inflated premiums (that) would not be possible if the market for health insurance in these Individual Blue Plans’ Service Areas were truly competitive.”
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State Employees Should Be A Budget Priority in 2017

October 7, 2016

By Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford

Imagine you went for nine years without a pay raise. Now imagine that, during those nine years, your boss made you start paying more for your health insurance and retirement plan. Now imagine that your boss laid-off about one out of every five of your coworkers, forcing you to do their jobs as well as your own.

For nearly 30,000 Alabamians, that situation is not something they have to imagine; it’s the reality of their lives.
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Close Alabama’s Coverage Gap to Save Money and Lives

August 9, 2016

By Jim Carnes

Imagine you’re uninsured and thinking about buying health insurance. If good coverage is available, you’d want to know if you could afford the premiums and out-of-pocket costs. But those aren’t the only factors that determine affordability. You’d also need to subtract the cost of going without insurance: the doctor visits and prescriptions you’re paying for in full, or the untreated health problems you’re hoping will just go away.
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