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Featured Opinion

Sine Die And Good Luck

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Medicaid is funded for 2017, with $105 million for 2018, which gives legislators an opportunity to do nothing controversial or terribly important in an election year. Strange, how these little things happen to workout, I guess.

Governor Bentley received his Medicaid dollars so he can stop worrying about the dying children. Hospitals, physicians and health care workers will not suffer further cuts to their already bare-bones reimbursements. Medicaid in Alabama provides little coverage as it is, but there is a promise of better medical treatment under the experimental Regional Care Organizations (RCOs).

Baldwin and Mobile Counties received $120 million, due to the tenacity and grim persistence of Senators Trip Pitman and Bill Hightower.

Fiscally conservative House and Senate members managed to wrestle money to pay back some funds borrowed to solve the last Medicaid crisis.

Hopefully now, the young and aged of our State will receive the care they need and deserve.

There are those who abuse the Medicaid system, and there is no doubt fraud. For this reason, lawmakers must consider Attorney General Luther Strange’s Medicaid Fraud Bill from 2015.

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There are days when watching the State Senate is akin to a Talladega Speedway crash or a mud wrestling contest in Bangkok. Each offer great entertainment value, as long as no one is seriously injured or loses large chunks of hair. Alabama is fortunate to have some brilliant members in the upper chamber and a large number of characters as well. The independence exercised by some in the Senate is needed, as it drives necessary compromise.

Speaker Mac McCutcheon entered the lion’s den and came out victorious. He exudes the confidence and character long absent from the lower chamber. The fifth and sixth floors of the State House are experiencing the transformation he promised, with each day feeling more like the People’s House.

Susan and I have spoken with Speaker McCutcheon on several occasions during this session, and his welcoming attitude and openness is something denied us in the past. We agree the past is just that: the past, and today’s priority is the future of our State.

Naturally, there were losers. The biggest being the people of Alabama, who expected a bill allowing them to vote on a lottery. Governor Bentley is to blame for that failure, as he presented legislation that was doomed from the beginning. And, once again lawmakers chose to punt rather than make the tough choices.

So, sine die and good luck, because they will not return until February 2017.

Now that the Special Session is over, the Alabama Political Reporter will be publishing some stories that will rock the Capitol. After all, it is such a “target rich” environment.

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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