Staff Photos: Jonathan Phillips
Nineteen-month-old Darby Farnsworth is held by her mother, Lindsey, as they wait for the nurse at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. Darby, diagnosed with APL leukemia, is on her fifth round of chemotherapy treatment and is expected to be in the hospital for the next three weeks.
Dr. Michael Ramsey has been practicing medicine for fifteen years and says seeing little patients is his passion.
"The reason why you go into pediatrics is because you care for children, and you want to take care of them," says Dr. Michael Ramsey.
But his ability to care for children may soon be drastically cut.
“All-Kids” is a low cost program that provides healthcare for children along with blue cross blue shield.
If the Alabama legislature makes a decision to move the program under Medicaid and Medicare, doctors and children will be affected.
"A lot of the legislature doesn't understand the direct impact of those decisions they make," says Dr. Michael Ramsey.
Funding problems may force the state to make changes to the all-kids program.
Here is a breakdown of what could potentially happen if the cuts are approved.
The program takes about 50 million dollars to operate a year...if the state takes over the program they will only receive 38 million dollars.
If that happens some 85 thousand children across the state along with their families will be affected.
That could be a problem for families living in poverty.
"What we anticipate will happen, especially in very rural populations across the state, that have high poverty levels, and also have high all-kid enrollment we anticipate their will be providers who start to drop taking that all-kids insurance, so these kids will have less access to care," says Dr. Michael Ramsey.
And less care will also cut reimbursements to doctors.
"You do the best that you can, but the problem is if you can't keep the lights on you can't take care of those kids, it seems like everywhere we turn we care getting hit with these cuts," sys Dr. Michael Ramsey.
If those cuts happen they will ultimately affect the children in the long run.
If Medicaid and Medicare take over the program the change would happen at the beginning of the fiscal year, which is October first.
Blue cross blue shield who all-kids is currently under released a statement late this afternoon and it reads impart, "We understand the budget constraints that all-kids and other state agencies are under, and we are continually working to find ways to help them stretch existing budget dollars."