Alabama governor weighs in on Affordable Care Act

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is weighing in on the Affordable Care Act.

House leaders asked state governors and insurance commissioners on what they would change about the Affordable Care Act.

Bentley responded to House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy in a letter released on Thursday. Bentley believes states should have more choices when it comes to healthcare.

The governor said that repealing the ACA without a clear replacement could raise concerns among insurers nationwide.

His issue with that? If insurers withdraw from the market, consumers would have fewer options.

Bentley said that he'd like states to have the ability to reduce Medicaid benefits and enrollment, impose premiums, and reduce Medicaid spending if federal funding is reduced as part of reforms.

He also called to stop planned cuts in the Medicaid disproportionate share payments. Those payments help hospitals cover the cost of providing care to poor patients.

According to the governor, those cuts could reduce those payments to Alabama hospitals by more than $100 million a year.

Bentley also encouraged lawmakers to keep federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program. Alabama currently has 150 thousand children 18 and younger that benefit from the program.

He also mentioned that the state of Alabama would need at least 18 months before changes are made to the Affordable Care Act or the Medicaid budget.

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