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.

ANSA endorses Democratic ticket for Nov.6 General Election



Walt Maddox, Dr. Will Boyd, Joe Siegelman, Heather Milam, Bob Vance

Senator Hank Sanders receives plaque for lifetime service to ANSC. L to R: Shelly Fearson, Sen. Vivian Figures, Robert Avery,  Dr. Roberta Watts, Rev. Robert Turner, Hank Sanders, John Zippert and Dr. Carol P. Zippert.

Saturday’s 32nd. Annual Fall Endorsement Convention in Montgomery, Alabama, the Alabama New South Alliance (ANSA) the political sister organization to the Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC) endorsed the Democratic candidates running for statewide office. The members of the ANSA heard from the candidates and were able to ask questions before the endorsements were made. ANSA endorsed Walt Maddox, current Mayor of Tuscaloosa for Governor. Maddox said, “At the first hour of the first day I am in office, I will extend Medicaid coverage to 300,000 working people in this state who need insurance coverage. This will help these people to gain needed health care but it will also expand our economy and assist rural hospitals to remain in operation. Maddox said he would work for an “Education Lottery to provide revenues for education, scholarships for college and post-secondary education, more pre-k slots and general improvement in the state’s economy. ” Maddox also supported criminal justice reforms including review of sentences on death row leading to commutations for those deserving that consideration. Maddox said my cabinet and appointments would reflect the population and gender make-up of the state When asked why Kay Ivey refused to debate him, Maddox said, “Well, I guess if you have served in state government for more than thirty years, the last eight years in the top positions, without making much progress on Alabama’s problems, like she has, I guess you also would be reluctant to debate.” ANSA endorsed Rev. Will Boyd of Florence for Lieutenant Governor. Boyd who is African-American says, “ I support Medicaid expansion and will help Maddox get his programs through the Alabama Legislature. The Lt. Governor appoints 400 people to 167 different boards and positions. I will be fair and make sure Black people are included in these positions and other jobs that I am involved in creating.” ANSA endorsed Joseph Siegelman for Attorney General. Siegelman said his opponent, Steve Marshall, “ was trying to prosecute people in Black Belt counties for voter fraud while at the same time allowing people in white counties, who did the same things, to not face investigation or prosecution. ANSA also endorsed Robert Vance for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and Donna Smalley for Alabama Supreme Court, Place 4. Also endorsed were Heather Milan for Secretary of State and Cara McClure (Place 1) and Kari Powell for Place 2 on the Alabama Public Service Commission, which oversees utility rates and procedures in the state. Part of the meeting, were a series of presentations on how best to register, educate and mobilize voters including the importance of voter turnout in the Black Belt areas and inner cities. The importance of millennial and new voters was also stressed including helping the previously incarcerated to regain their voting rights. Former Governor Don Siegelman was the luncheon speaker and he discussed his unfair prosecution and time in Federal penitentiary for trying to serve people in Alabama. As part of the luncheon, Senator Hank Sanders, a founder of ANSC, was honored for a lifetime of service and achievement to ANSC, the Alabama Legislature, from which he is retiring at the end of the year, and to the people of the state.