HEADLINES : Alabama
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley threatens to veto budget with too little for Medicaid
MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Gov. Robert Bentley on Tuesday threatened to veto a state budget if it appropriates only $400 million to Medicaid, saying the funding cut could crash the state's entire health care system.
"We have to fund Medicaid. If we don't fund Medicaid, our entire health care system goes under," Bentley said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
The House of Representatives passed a budget that would appropriate $400 million for Medicaid, a figure Bentley said is not adequate. State Health Officer Don Williamson said the agency needs $602 million to maintain basic services in the state's bare-bones Medicaid program. The program is getting $575 million from the state this year, after budget cuts imposed earlier in the year.
Bentley urged lawmakers to throw Medicaid a fiscal lifeline by giving it about $200 million from the Education Trust Fund. That amount otherwise would go to repay money that was borrowed from a rainy day account to ease public education budget cuts.
"People in Alabama believe that we have enough money. You know what? They're right. We have over two hundred million in a savings account we can use," Bentley said.
However, Bentley's idea has met staunch opposition from legislative budget chairmen.