Amendment passed to defer deep Medicaid cut

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Amendment passed to defer deep Medicaid cut
Amendment passed to defer deep Medicaid cut

ALABAMA – Voters in mid-September overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to use more than $400 million from a rarely tapped source to shore up the Medicaid program and avoid a 12% cut. The program still has to make up to $40 million in reductions in the coming year, however, under a plan nearly everyone, including Gov. Robert Bentley (R), views as a stop-gap measure.

The referendum allows the state to transfer $437 million from a 30-year-old trust fund established for royalties from natural gas drilling. The money will go to the state's general fund, which has been stifled in recent years by flat or declining revenues. 

Legislators earlier this year voted to transfer a portion of the state's use tax and 75% of Internet sales tax revenues to the General Fund to help balance the budget, but those measures still fell short. 

Amendment advocates argued that the state needed to send a strong message to the business community about its commitment to its residents' healthcare needs.

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