Funding rarity: Alabama governor demands more for Medicaid

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Gov. Robert Bentley (R)
Gov. Robert Bentley (R)
Amid the flurry of bad news for long-term care providers, regarding Medicaid cuts, a spot of sunshine appeared in Alabama on Wednesday, when the governor said he would veto the state's budget if an additional $200 million were not added to the program.

The state's General Fund budget proposal has $400 million allotted for Medicaid, which is a primary payer for long-term care residents. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) said that $200 million from an education savings account should be moved to Medicaid.

There were 955,000 Alabama residents who received Medicaid services in fiscal 2009, 13% of whom are over age 65, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The Alabama Nursing Home Association director of communications said the governor's decision reflects how he “stands by nursing homes and healthcare providers for the good of the state.”

“We do agree with Governor Bentley and state health officials that $400 million for Medicaid isn't workable,” ANHA's John Matson told McKnight's. “It's possible nursing homes would have to close, or that less beds would be available.”

Wisconsin, Connecticut and Illinois are among the states where major Medicaid cuts are being considered; Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D), for example, has proposed cutting $2 billion from the Medicaid program.