Alabama Voices: Expanding Medicaid would improve Alabama’s health, budgets and economy

Imagine being an Alabama leader and having a tool at your disposal that could help families, strengthen the workforce, save rural hospitals, fight opioid addiction, improve the state’s health status and grow the economy.

The only catch: It was created by members of another political party. That’s the dilemma that has kept Alabama from expanding Medicaid for the last eight years.

We’re a different country now than we were in 2010, when a Democratic Congress passed and President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), making Medicaid expansion possible. With so much water under the bridge – and the ACA still standing – maybe it’s time to seize one of the law’s more durable provisions and take credit for the good it brings.

Trump officials say no to lifetime limits on Medicaid

On Monday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rejected a proposal from Kansas to place a three-year lifetime cap on some adult Medicaid enrollees. Since Medicaid began in 1965, no state has restricted how long beneficiaries could remain in the entitlement program.

"We seek to create a pathway out of poverty, but we also understand that people's circumstances change, and we must ensure that our programs are sustainable and available to them when they need and qualify for them," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said Monday at an American Hospital Association meeting in Washington, D.C.