Ala. Senate passes Medicaid reform bill - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Ala. Senate passes Medicaid reform bill

The Legislature is getting closer to restructuring Alabama's Medicaid program.

The Senate voted 27-3 Thursday night for a bill that would switch the Medicaid program from a "fee-for-service" plan to regional care organizations.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Greg Reed of Jasper, said the state would pay the organizations a fixed amount and they would be responsible for the Medicaid patients' care.

Reed said that shifts the financial risk away from the state, but there will be no cut in services. He said the organizations can save money by better managing patients' care.

"Our number one priority is to ensure that we're providing quality healthcare to Alabama Medicaid recipients, while also protecting the financial stability of the program to make sure we are getting the most out of taxpayer resources," Reed said. "This legislation, which will save hundreds of millions of dollars and improve patient care, is a win-win."

Republicans estimate the legislation will save taxpayers between $250 and $350 million from fiscal year 2015-2019.

The House passed a similar bill 79-20 Tuesday. Now the House and Senate must agree on one bill.

The regional concept was recommended by a commission set up by the governor to find cost savings.

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