Here in the south, we often seem to be bristling up and posturing on the outside while quietly doing the right thing. That is happening in Alabama as it relates to care delivery, much to my delight. Per an op-ed by Jim Carnes in today’s Press Register:
If [ObamaCare] survives the multistate challenge it will face this spring in the U.S. Supreme Court, Alabama will be well on its way to securing an expanded and fairer health insurance market for everyone, and a stronger safety net for low-income workers and their families.
That outcome will be thanks to the work of a commission Gov. Robert Bentley appointed to study the ins and outs of implementing a key aspect of the reform, despite his strong opposition to the law.
Mr Carnes points out that the combination of expanded Medicaid and these exchanges will be a boon to the 15% of Alabamians who currently lack access to anything but emergency care and care provided by the charity of others. Once the law is fully enacted, people will qualify for subsidies to purchase insurance:
One crucial step for expanding coverage in Alabama will be the creation of what the law calls a state health insurance “exchange.” This will be a user-friendly marketplace where people who need insurance can compare and choose plans and get assistance for paying their premiums, on a sliding scale determined by income.
The full report of the Commission is found here. In addition,
The Affordable Care Act requires all states to offer Medicaid coverage to people earning up to 133 percent of the poverty line, or just under $30,000 for a family of four. That’s more than 12 times Alabama’s current Medicaid income limit. Alabama Medicaid estimates the change will bring coverage to around 500,000 more Alabamians.
Thank you, Governor Bentley, for setting aside your personal feelings and putting the groundwork for implementing the Affordable Care Act in Alabama into place.