NORTHWEST ALABAMIAN
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Last Updated September 4, 2015
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The Northwest Alabamian gladly accepts letters to the editor on issues of pertinent interest to our readers. This is your open forum to express your opinions, but we do have a few guidelines we ask you to follow:
1. All letters must be signed with an address. Names will be printed with the letter in the NWA. No letters will be printed without a name.
2. We reserve the right to edit letters without changing the tone of message. Corrections in grammar, spelling and proper English usage will be made if we deem them necessary.
3. Please keep letters as brief as possible. (Example: two typed pages, double-spaced,
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5. The NWA editorial page is for opinions and comments. Editorials, articles, cartoons, or letters are the opinions of the writers whose names are included, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the newspaper and its employees.
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7.We do not knowingly make misstatements of fact. If we find we have, we will gladly make a correction in the next issue.
The Northwest Alabamian is published semi-weekly, except weekly Christmas and New Year’s when only the Wednesday edition is published at 1506 21st Street, Highway 195 East, P.O. Box 430, Haleyville, AL, 35565. Phone 205-486-9461. Entered as periodicals at the Post Office at Haleyville, AL 35565. Annual subscription rate is $34.50 for one year or $26 for six months for Winston County; $38.50 per year or $28 per six months for adjoining counties. Subscriptions for senior citizens (Winston Co. only) are $30 for one year or $22 for six months. All others are $50.50 per year or $32 for six months. POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGE TO P. O. BOX 430, HALEYVILLE, AL 35565
The opinions of editorial columnists or opinions reflected in Letters to the Editor do not necessarily reflect the official editorial opinion of this newspaper.
Northwest Alabamian
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Horace Moore
Publisher
Phillip Brooks
Production Manager
Mike Moore
General Manager
Melica Allen
Managing Editor
Roger Carden
Advertising Director
Medicaid matters to all Alabamians
If you have a
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P.O. Box 430
Haleyville, Ala.
35565
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Opinions
If you think Medicaid is a health insurance program for the poor, you’re only partially correct.  It’s also critical to the healthcare infrastructure of our state.
Alabama Medicaid provides health coverage for eligible children, pregnant women and severely disabled and impoverished adults, about one million Alabamians.  Should Ala-bama Medicaid be anything but fully funded, one-quarter of our state’s population - rural, suburban and urban - could lose access to health care.
Despite having so many people dependent on Medicaid, benefit-wise, Alabama runs the most bare-bones program in the country.  If you are a childless, non-disabled adult, it is almost impossible to qualify for Medicaid here.  While we have more than one-third more people on Medicaid than neighboring Mississippi, we spend one-third less to care for them!  This isn’t because we are running things so well; it’s because Alabama covers almost no “optional” services - things like adult dialysis and eyeglasses, insulin pumps and early cancer detection tests.  I don’t know about you, but I do not consider those optional for anyone who needs them, and few could afford them out-of-pocket, much less someone in poverty.
Alabama is a poor state, and Medicaid is a critical component of our healthcare infrastructure.  More than half the births in Alabama and 47 percent of our children are covered by Medicaid.  On the other end of the spectrum, 60 percent of Alabama’s nursing home residents are covered by Medicaid.  Without full funding, the Medicaid program could collapse, leaving these individuals without coverage.  While uncompensated care is delivered every day in all 67 counties of this state, without Medicaid charity care, needs could skyrocket, crippling the healthcare delivery system and potentially placing the burden on those with private health insurance through higher premiums and co-pays.
Forty-five percent of Alabama Medicaid beneficiaries are Caucasian and the same proportion are African-American, with the remaining 10 percent made up of Asian, Hispanic and other races.  Alabama Medicaid touches everyone, and fully funding the program is a smart investment that will ensure our citizenry is as healthy as possible.  Alabama Medicaid is critical to our state’s healthcare infrastructure, and not fully funding it could have dire consequences, like medical practice, hospital and nursing home closures that impact everyone.  Medicaid matters...to all Alabamians.


Buddy Smith, M.D.
President, Medical Association of the State of Alabama
Montgomery

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