Medicaid/CHCHC in crosshairs of Sept. 18 vote

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ben Busbee, executive director of the Charles Henderson Child Health Center in Troy, has been involved in the health care field in some way for 30 years.

Over those years, the cost of health care in the United States has continued to rise. Now, in an effort to balance the state’s budget for the next fiscal year, cuts must be made and Medicaid is in the crosshairs.

Busbee was the speaker at this week’s Brundidge Rotary Club meeting and told the Rotarians that the CHCHC will be negatively impacted if the September 18th Amendment fails.

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“The Charles Henderson Child Health Center will take a big hit,” Busbee said. “We stand to lose about $100,000 a year and that is major,” Busbee said. “The Constitutional amendment to be put to vote on Sept. 18 would allow monies from the state’s savings account to be moved to the state’s checking account. The move would benefit Medicaid. That would involve about one-sixth of the state’s savings account.”

Busbee said that Medicaid plays a role in the health care of a large number of area children.

“In Pike and the contiguous counties, there are about 24,000 Medicaid eligible children,” Busbee said. “At CHCHC, we have four pediatricians and CHCHC also provides the only Medicaid dental services for children in this area. So, if this amendment doesn’t pass, it will have a major impact on the services that we can continue to provide for Medicaid eligible children in our area.”

Busbee said it’s not just Medicaid that will be affected if the September 18th Amendment fails.

“It will affect the health care industry overall,” he said. “Health care is the largest industry in the country. If Medicaid collapses, it will affect the second tier suppliers as well and we’ll also lose the millions of federal dollars that come to Alabama to help fund that Medicaid program.”

Busbee said that public vote is the only way that the state can dip into its savings account.

Voting “yes” on September 18 could save 10,000 jobs in Alabama, stop the release of 9,500 prison inmates, keep hospitals, nursing homes and doctor’s offices from closing and keep Children’s Hospital and pediatricians across the state from losing the resources needed to provide care for the state’s children, according to Busbee.

Busbee said that it’s up to the voters to decide but he recommends voting “yes” for the good of Alabama.