SOS continues campaign for Medicaid Expansion linking the campaign to other critical issues in Alabama 


The Save Ourselves (SOS) Coalition for Justice and Democracy continued its campaign for Medicaid Expansion with a rally today (May 21, 2019) at Noon on the steps of the State Capitol in Montgomery, Alabama.
  John Zippert, Co-Chair of the SOS Health Committee declared, “ We came to the steps of the Alabama State House last Tuesday and said we would be back each Tuesday that the Alabama Legislature is in session until the Governor and the State Legislature approves Medicaid Expansion. We also agreed to link this critical health care issue to other important issues facing the people of Alabama, such as the fight to defeat Alabama’s new draconian law against women’s right to an abortion, inaction on prison reform and the suppression of voting rights.”
  “SOS brought a “Citizens Arrest Petition for Governor Kay Ivey” to the Capitol steps and we attempted to serve it on her at the end of the rally, “ said Johnny Ford, former Mayor of Tuskegee and Co-Chair of the SOS Health Committee. 
  The Citizens arrest writ simply says that the people of Alabama condemn the actions of Governor Ivey in failing to Expand Medicaid, to save the lives of 500 or more Alabamians each year; in signing the bill making it a crime for women to have an abortion in Alabama, which will result in hundreds of additional deaths; and the failure to enact prison reforms, required by a government report of atrocities in Alabama’s prison system.Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act will provide health care coverage to 300,000 low-income working people in the State of Alabama. These people are caught in a payment gap where they make too much money to qualify for Medicaid ($4,600/year) and too little to qualify for subsidized health insurance on the ACA health insurance marketplace. The Federal government will be responsible for 90% of the cost of this health care with Alabama paying 10%.
  Beyond the moral issue of failing to provide health care for all of its citizens, Alabama has lost more than $10 billion by not expanding Medicaid over the past decade that it was available. The state has also lost 30,000 good jobs in the medical field by not expanding Medicaid. The tax revenues from these new taxpayers would help to pay the 10% burden on the state of Alabama. The economic development impacts of expanding Medicaid would be shared in every county of the state.
 Expanding Medicaid would help our financially troubled hospitals in Alabama, especially those in rural economically depressed areas, by providing a payer source for the working poor who need medical care the most.  
  Faya Rose Toure, SOS Steering Committee member said,
“SOS must join forces with other groups Alabama to fight for justice. The recently passed legislation, which Governor Ivey signed without hesitation, would criminalize abortion in the state. This will make it harder especially for younger poor women, Black and white, to have access to abortion. This law must be challenged and reversed. Why would you consider life so scared for the unborn and then deny life-saving healthcare to those same children and their parents for the rest of their lives.
 “ We invite women who feel that their health care during pregnancy and beyond is being challenged by the Legislature and Governor Ivey to join with SOS in fighting for Medicaid Expansion and against draconian abortion restrictions, which do not include exceptions for rape and incest,” said Faya Rose Toure.
 Rev. Kenneth Glasgow of Dothan, the SOS Justice Committee Co-Chair points out that the state’s failure to act on prison reform is linked to Medicaid Expansion. “The Legislature and Gov. Ivey have not acted on the Department of Justice report on devastating conditions in Alabama prisons, including the lack of medical care and services for the incarcerated. We must join together to fight for Medicaid Expansion, criminal justice reform, and abortion rights.”
“We will be back next Tuesday, May 28, 2019 to continue to push for Medicaid Expansion, “ said Johnny Ford.
  SOS Coalition for Justice and Democracy is a coalition of forty social justice organizations in the state who are working to improve conditions for poor and people of color in the State of Alabama.
 For more information contact: Shelley Fearson – SOS Office – 334/262-0932.

SOS alerts voters to urgency of Medicaid expansion

Shown above ANSC President John Zippert, Latasha Brown, Shelly Fearson, Senator Hank Sander, Jeanette Thomas, Johnny Ford and Faya Rose Toure


The Save Ourselves Movement for Justice and Democracy (SOS) a coalition of forty social justice organizations in the state, held a press conference at the State House in Montgomery, Alabama. State Senator Hank Sanders of Selma said, “We are here today to alert voters, candidates and the press to the importance of healthcare and the expansion of Medicaid in the November General Election. Governor Ivey, as Governor, can take the step of expanding Medicaid for thousands of people.” A study by the Kaiser Foundation indicates that 500 to 700 people each year in Alabama are likely to die without Medicaid expansion – so this is a matter of life and death. The Alabama Hospital Association, a trade association for over 100 hospitals in the state says, “If Alabama expands Medicaid, almost 300,000 uninsured Alabamians would receive health insurance coverage, an estimated 30,000 jobs would be created, and $28 billion in new economic activity would be generated.  Alabama would also save millions of dollars on current state services.  “On average, in Alabama, almost one out of every 10 hospital patients does not have health insurance, resulting in more than $530 million annually in uncompensated care,” said Danne Howard, executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Alabama Hospital Association.  “Currently, 75 percent of Alabama’s hospitals are operating in the red, meaning the dollars they receive for caring for patients are not enough to cover the cost of that care.  Expanding Medicaid would be a significant investment in the state’s fragile health care infrastructure and would help maintain access to care for everyone.”

“In Greene County because we are a poor county, one in three patients do not have any insurance, which means we provide an average of $100,000 in uncompensated care per month. Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act would help people in our county whose earn less than 138% of poverty (approximately $20,000 annual for a family of four) to secure affordable health insurance coverage,” said Dr. Marcia Pugh, Administrator of the Greene County Health System. Former Mayor of Tuskegee, Johnny Ford said “The SOS Health Committee would be remiss if we did not point out that Medicaid expansion is the issue, which must be in the forefront of voter’s minds as they go to the pools in one week. Walt Maddox and the Democratic candidates for statewide office have pledged to expand Medicaid to 300,000 working poor people on their first day in office. Incumbent Governor Kay Ivey has not expanded Medicaid during her tenure. She says that the state cannot afford the costs of expanding Medicaid. She is also supporting a proposed rule change, which will eliminate 70,000 caregivers from Medicaid unless they meet a work requirement, which will also make them financially ineligible for Medicaid coverage. Maddox says that Alabama needs to help its neediest people to receive health insurance coverage to improve healthcare and economic opportunities in the State of Alabama.” John Zippert, SOS Health Committee Co-chair pointed out that since 2010 when Medicaid expansion has been available under the Affordable Care Act, Alabama has lost $7 billion in Federal support under the program. For the first three years of the program, there was no cost to the states to participate. This has increased by 2.5% a year until it reached the maximum 10% this fiscal year. In addition in coming years beginning in 2020, the disproportionate share reimbursement rate payment to rural hospitals will decline because the program assumes coverage for low-income people in the state by Medicaid expansion under the ACA. Rural hospitals in states like Alabama, that have not expanded Medicaid, will begin to take a “double-whammy” for not expanding Medicaid – more patients without insurance coupled with lower reimbursement rates. Danne Howard, with the Alabama Hospital Association, notes that a recent study showed that hospitals in expansion states were 84 percent less likely to close than hospitals in non-expansion states.  “Alabama has had 12 hospitals close since 2011, and more are on the verge of closing if something doesn’t change,” she added. “Plus, the economic impact in other states has been tremendous; Louisiana has added 19,000 jobs; nearly 50 percent of new enrollees in Ohio have been able to receive mental health and substance abuse treatment, and the state has seen a 17-percent drop in emergency department use; Kentucky has seen an increase in state revenues of $300 million.” SOS calls this critical issue to the attention of voters and urges every registered voter to vote on November 6, 2018 with the need for equitable health insurance coverage in mind.

Alabama’s rural hospitals are on life support Legislature claims victory in adjourning early while ignoring life-saving issues Alabama SOS again calls for Medicaid Expansion in Alabama


Shown above John Zippert Chair of SOS Health Committee addresses crowd


Montgomery, AL – Members of Alabama SOS, the Save OurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy, held a news conference, Tuesday, March 27th, at 11:30 a.m. in the 3rd Floor Press Room of the Alabama State House to address critical and time-sensitive health care issues facing the State of Alabama.
John Zippert, Chair of the SOS Health Committee said: “We are concerned about the State of Alabama’s requesting a Medicaid rule change that would affect 8,500 Medicaid caretakers in our state, denying them Medicaid coverage. The rule requires they show they are earning a mandatory wage. These 8,500 people are taking care of Medicaid-eligible children and/or seniors and adults. They are hardworking Alabamians caring for others, but they are not earning a wage that would provide them Medicaid coverage under this rule.

“For these Alabamians to be covered under this new rule, they would no longer be able to care for other Medicaid-eligible Alabamians, who are either children or adults or seniors in much greater need. This makes absolutely no sense. This is part of a national trend that is needlessly hurting people in Alabama and other states by putting political rhetoric ahead of facts and dollars and sense.”
“SOS is urging everyone who disagrees with Governor Ivey’s shortsighted and meanspirited effort to impose a work requirement on Medicaid caretakers to write the State of Alabama Medicaid agency expressing our concern and opposition.. Each of us has the opportunity to email our comments by April 2nd at and by mail to Administrative Secretary, Alabama Medicaid Agency, 501 Dexter Ave., P.O. Box 5624, Montgomery, AL 36103-5624,” said John Zippert, SOS Health Committee Co-Chair.
Johnny Ford, SOS Health Care Committee Co-Chair and founder of the World Conference of Mayors, said: “Because the State of Alabama has not expanded Medicaid coverage, small rural hospitals across Alabama are being hurt, threatened with closure, or closed. Many of the people coming to these hospitals were supposed to be covered by Medicaid but currently are not. This is harming the area where I live as well as rural areas throughout our entire state. If these hospitals close, all people in these areas will be directly hurt.”
Another critical issue SOS addressed is the ongoing failure of the State of Alabama to expand Medicaid coverage. “Expanding Medicaid would be a huge economic boon to our state,” said Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders. “More than 30 states across the country, including in the South, have already expanded Medicaid. Alabama tax dollars are going to help people in other states instead of the people of Alabama.”
Zippert, who is also Chair of the Board of the Greene County Health System and President of the Alabama New South Coalition added: “Medicaid reimbursement – including the disproportionate share that rural hospitals already receive – has been even further reduced by the failure to expand Medicaid. People who have insurance are also going to pay higher premiums in Alabama because we have not expanded Medicaid. So many Alabamians are paying the cost because the State refuses to expand Medicaid”
“Rural hospitals are on life support,” said Ford, “and the Governor could save them with the stroke of her pen. The Alabama Legislature is proud to be adjourning early this week claiming their work has been done while rural hospitals across the state – both in Black and White communities – are threatened with closure every day. This can be fixed with Medicaid expansion. We need action – not today, not yesterday, but years ago. But we will take action today. The Legislature’s work is not done nor is the work of the Governor.”
SOS is comprised of more than 40 statewide Alabama organizations committed to justice and democracy. Members of the SOS Health Committee led today’s news conference.