MONTGOMERY – As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote later this week on a major overhaul of the nation’s health care system, Governor Bob Riley is urging members of Alabama’s congressional delegation to continue opposing the bill.
In a letter he sent to the delegation on Wednesday, Governor Riley says the health reform plan is an enormous unfunded mandate that will add 400,000 Alabamians to the state’s Medicaid program.
If the proposal becomes law, Governor Riley said it will cost the state’s General Fund budget an additional $61 million every year just to sustain the 400,000 Alabamians who will be added to the Medicaid rolls. The total cost to Alabama taxpayers of the health care proposal would be nearly $1.1 billion per year.
“I am deeply concerned that sustaining this level of coverage would translate into a substantial tax increase on the people of Alabama,” Governor Riley says in his letter.
“Not only does the current proposal in Congress raise costs for the state, it raises the cost of health care for many Alabama employers, families and individuals,” the Governor’s letter says.
Governor Riley also says he is concerned the bill before Congress will actually reduce access to health care.
“The increased costs to the state may force cuts to Medicaid provider reimbursement rates, thereby driving doctors away from participating in the program at a time when 400,000 newly eligible Medicaid patients come on board,” he writes.