Some time ago I shared through this media the possible effects of reduced funding for Medicaid. I warned that under-funding of Medicaid would result in the total loss of both access to medical care and also jobs.

The very first casualty of the State General Fund budget has already happened, and it did not take long to happen.

Dale County, Alabama is an under-served community with only one pediatrician who also shares time as an urgent care physician. Dale Medical Center worked with Dothan Pediatrics to open a satellite office in Ozark, Alabama so the area could have access to full time pediatric care. Plans were put into place; Dothan Pediatrics  opened Ozark Pediatrics in a rather temporary office in the hospital surgery center, purchased land for a new, permanent office, and was preparing to break ground for this facility. There was a commitment to investing and providing care in a rural area in which the recruitment of primary care doctors is very difficult. This commitment would also mean construction jobs, health care jobs, and better access to medical care for children.

Along comes the legislature and overrode the veto of the General Fund, and Medicaid outlined the potential cuts needed as a result of this budget, including major cuts to primary care physicians.

As a result of this action by the legislature, the majority of the population of Dale County, the privately insured and those on Medicaid will not have to drive to Dothan for basic, routine, preventative care like check-ups and immunizations. Access to medical care will be in jeopardy, something that is going to continue across the state of Alabama.

I certainly hope the legislature will remember, if you are going to take credit for the budget you passed, you should be will to take responsibility for the mess it causes.