I am taking a summer away from some of my daily and weekly tasks to focus on other things. I am spending my time helping to redesign our healthcare system to prepare for the transformation of Alabama’s Medicaid into an Accountable Care Organization which is scheduled to occur in 2 years. This will take a lot of effort on the part of a lot of people to accomplish but in the end an effective Medicaid program is something that we in Alabama need.

I have written this blog, in part, so others will take up the cry for affordable, accessible health care for America. Although the ACA is not perfect, it is the law that we have. I am heartened to see others take up the mantle. In today’s newspaper, two UA-Birmingham medical students have written an essay asking the people of Alabama to see past their prejudices and support the expansion of Medicaid based on their experience volunteering in a free clinic.They use the case of Ms C, a woman who suffers from difficult to control blood pressure and no insurance, to illustrate the need and then close with:

As Alabama continues to refuse Medicaid expansion, we witness the fallout every Sunday. For all of us, it is frustrating to think about how a preventable illness such as Ms. C’s high blood pressure, can cost so much for our healthcare system and for an individual’s well-being because it went untreated.

As care providers at the free clinic, we must swallow the hard realities of the current healthcare environment and watch our patients do the same. As future physicians, we worry about practicing in a state where the most downtrodden among us are overlooked. And as your fellow Alabamians, we hope that this state will prove to be one that looks past ideology and supports our neighbors in their toughest times.

Rethink coverage. Expand Medicaid.

Have a productive summer.