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Cover Alabama calls on Gov. Ivey to close healthcare gap

The nonpartisan group continues to advocate for statewide healthcare in a letter this week.

Medical insurance and Medicaid and stethoscope.
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On Monday, a coalition of more than 80 organizations, partners in Cover Alabama, sent a letter to Gov. Kay Ivey in an attempt to persuade her to further explore closing the healthcare gap in the state.

Cover Alabama is a nonpartisan coalition aiming to provide Alabamians with quality and affordable healthcare and create a sustainable healthcare system. Currently, 300,000 residents of the state are left without access to healthcare, and Alabama is one of only 10 states yet to expand Medicaid to cover low-income adults.

“We implore you to recognize the urgency and importance surrounding prioritizing the health and well-being of our state’s residents by taking immediate action to close the health care coverage gap.,” said Alabama Arise’s Cover Alabama campaign director, Debbie Smith.

The group’s call to action came shortly after a joint Senate and House health committee hearing. Republican lawmakers from Arkansas and North Carolina spoke about their experiences closing the coverage gaps by utilizing a public-private option or expanding traditional Medicaid, respectively.

In Cover Alabama’s letter, they cite the need for widespread healthcare access to increase workforce participation, productivity and economic growth. Investing in Alabamian’s healthcare would also relieve some strain placed on hospitals and healthcare providers, specifically in rural areas where unpaid costs could easily cause these hospitals to have to shut their doors.

The solution is also more sustainable and cost-effective than in previous years. Alabama would have access to $619.4 million in federal funds through the American Rescue Plan Act. These funds, in addition to the 90/10 federal to state fund matching, could have the federal government providing $397 million in annual expenses that currently fall on the state.

While the legislative session ended without any moves toward closing the gap, executive action from Gov. Ivey at any time would solve this problem.

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Mary Claire is a reporting intern.

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