U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.) today called for the U.S. Senate to take action on his legislation to incentivize Alabama and other non-expansion states to expand Medicaid. Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a broad package to expand access to quality, affordable health care. Senator Jones’States Achieving Medicaid Expansion (SAME) Act was included in the House-approved legislation, and would provide the same federal reimbursement to states that expand today as those that chose to expand at the first opportunity.
“As more folks lose their employer-sponsored health care in Alabama amid the current economic and health crisis, the need to expand Medicaid is growing more urgent by the day. While Alabama has refused to take this common-sense step for years, and denied over 340,000 people access to health care, I believe states should still get a fair deal if they expand today. My legislation would ensure late-expanding states get the same level of federal reimbursement funding as those that took this step years ago. The Senate needs to follow the House’s lead in approving these incentives, which will help shore up Alabama’s struggling hospitals, create 30,000 good new jobs in our state, and bring quality health care to people who need it,” said Senator Jones, a member of the Senate Health Committee.
The Alabama Hospital Association (ALAHA) estimates that expanding Medicaid in Alabama would generate an $11.4 billion economic impact and $715 million in additional state and local taxes. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, ALAHA had estimated that 88-percent of Alabama hospitals were operating in the red. Since 2011, when federal support for Medicaid expansion was first available, 14 Alabama hospitals have closed their doors, eight of which were in rural areas.