Senate passes bill to crack down on Medicaid fraud

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Senate passed a bill Tuesday intended to crack down on Medicaid fraud and reduce the burden on Alabama taxpayers.

The legislation, Senate Bill 85, sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman was included on the Senate Republican Caucus’ priority list. It strengthens penalties against those who knowingly commit Medicaid fraud and providers who fraudulently bill the State for their services or tests.

“We have phenomenal health care providers and hospitals in our state, but there are some bad actors who have cost taxpayers millions of dollars through fraud,” Pittman said today. “This Medicaid fraud reduction bill will close the loopholes criminals used to bilk taxpayers.”

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Please, let’s not legislate for hate

By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter

With all the challenges facing the Alabama Legislature – a need for prison reform, a broke Medicaid system, apparent widespread corruption – some lawmakers seem awfully focused on non-issues that basically are intended to bash the state’s LGBTQ community.

Our politicians never get tired of these hot-button issues: Let’s get rid of undocumented immigrants; let’s close our borders to Islamist refugees; let’s make sure Birmingham can’t raise its own minimum wage or become a Sanctuary City.
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Things are getting complex

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

This third year of the quadrennium Regular Session of the legislature has recently gotten a lot more complex. These next four months will be trying times for the Alabama legislature. They will not only have to deal with a beleaguered General Fund Budget that has to feed a money-eating monster named Medicaid, they have an overcrowding problem in the state prisons to deal with as well as major public school systems being taken over by the state because of mismanagement and underfunding.
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Will US Attorney General Sessions press the rule of law in his home State?

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions will face some tough questions about law and order in his home State as he takes the reins at Justice. Will he have his US Attorney for the Southern District enforce Federal law and close the casinos operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama? Will he demand his US Attorney for the Middle District to finally bring Federal charges against convicted felon former Speaker Mike Hubbard? And lastly, will his office take action into Governor Robert Bentley’s use of State resources to harm Spencer Collier as did the US Attorney in New Jersey?
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A letter to GOP voters: You’re being conned

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Dear Republican voter,

You’re a fool.

I say that in the nicest possible way. I say that with a tone of pity, instead of a tone of condescension. I say that because I want to help you, and in turn help all the rest of us.

But mostly I say it because you’ve been tricked time and again – like a bunch of Charlie Browns trying to kick the same football – into believing that the shiny, controversial, fringe issue is of utmost importance and should take all of your focus while the other boring, policy stuff should be left up to the lawmakers who have your interest at heart.
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Please don’t waste time on gambling legislation

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, the Alabama Legislature will return to Montgomery for the 2017 Legislative Session and will face dire funding issues for prisons, for the long-troubled Alabama Medicaid Agency, for mental health, for infrastructure, for State parks, and other General Fund programs. Polling shows that Alabamians are dead set against raising taxes. Republicans hold a commanding super majority. Most of those legislators will not face a credible threat next year from the troubled Alabama Democratic Party. The only credible threat is on their right in a GOP Primary, and Republican voters don’t want higher taxes. The temptation is to look to gambling for revenue. That would be a mistake.
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2017 Legislative Session preview

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, February 7, the Alabama 2017 regular legislative session begins. Almost anything can happen when the Alabama legislature is in session and this session is no different. Here are a few of the issues facing our State Legislators.

1) Medicaid needs more money. Anybody who has been paying any attention at all the past five years knows that Alabama Medicaid has an unquenchable thirst for more and more State resources. Alabama Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar was in Montgomery recently reporting of yet another impending Medicaid crisis. The Bentley Administration is hoping that the Federal government will simply block grant the State their share of the Medicaid money with no pesky strings attached about who gets coverage, deductibles, etc. However, with US Senate Democrats filibustering and delaying even routine cabinet appointees, the idea that any meaningful entitlement reforms will pass out of Congress to even get to President Donald J. Trump’s desk seems unlikely. Unless US Senate Republicans can do this through the budget process it looks like the State may still have to offer the same minimum level of benefits, the RCO plan appears to be on the operating table in its death throes, and the State is likely to be facing yet another State General Fund crisis………but did anyone really expect any different from Alabama under the Bentley Administration. Read More

Left off Trump plan, the State is close to “infrastructure crisis”

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

AUBURN—House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, speaking at a forum in Auburn on Thursday, warned that the State could be close to an infrastructure “crisis” if it doesn’t reform funding mechanisms.

“It is a major, major issue that is so vital to the growth of this State,” McCutcheon said, speaking to a group of Auburn students at an SGA-sponsored forum. “We’re almost to the point where we are going to be at a crisis situation in a few years.”

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Bentley Will Attend Trump Inauguration

By Brandon Moseley

Friday, January 20, 2016 Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) is attending the inaugural ceremonies for President-elect Donald J. Trump (R).

Gov. Bentley said in a statement: “I am honored and excited for the opportunity to attend the historic inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States. As the Governor of Alabama, it is a privilege to witness this peaceful exchange of two administrations. While I am eager to observe the inauguration ceremony in person, this trip is about not wasting anytime getting to work.” Read More

Bipartisan bill would give retirees a one-time bonus

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Some Republicans in the Senate and at least one Democrat in the State House of Representatives believe certain retired educators should receive a one-time, lump sum payment.

Republican Senator Gerald Dial, who is leading the charge, is joined by Senate colleagues Jimmy Holley, Jim McClendon, Steve Livingston, Tom Whatley and Cam Ward to sponsor SB3. In the House, Rep. Craig Ford is carrying an identical bill that will provide a one-time payment for former educators and beneficiaries who receive retirement benefits from the Teachers’ Retirement Systems (TRS). Read More

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