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September 14, 2012 - Vote 'YES' on September 18

On September 18, the people of Alabama will vote on a state Constitutional Amendment that could seriously affect the financial stability of the University of South Alabama and its health care system.

"Most employees who work at the University have answered a call either to care for patients or to teach students," said Owen Bailey, hospital administrator at USA Children's & Women's Hospital. "A 'YES' Vote on Amendment One supports our collective mission at USA. I would encourage everyone to vote 'YES' on Amendment One and also encourage friends and family to do the same."

Amendment One would allow the state to transfer $148.5 million per year for three years from the Alabama Trust Fund (some call it Alabama's saving account) to the General Fund to avoid statewide layoffs, reduction in essential state-provided services, and the release of at least 9,500 state prisoners back into our community. Click here to learn more about Amendment One.

Particularly important to USA is state funding for Medicaid, which makes up the largest part of the state's health care delivery system and supports the infrastructure of hospitals, pediatricians, physicians, nursing homes and pharmacies. Medicaid cuts would not only reduce the care provided to Medicaid patients, but would reduce health care access for any of us who needs a doctor or visits a hospital, regardless of health insurance coverage. Financial failure of Alabama's Medicaid program would especially disrupt the finances of USA's health system and reduce the ability to meet the needs of all patients.

"A significant percentage of our patient population at USA Children's & Women's Hospital has Medicaid coverage," said Bailey. "But, this vote impacts healthcare for everyone in our community regardless of your insurance provider."

The outcome of this election will also impact USA employees who work outside of the health system. If the amendment fails, there will be great pressure to shore up the state's General Fund budget (which pays for Medicaid and other state services) by taking funds from the state's Educational Trust Fund, which supports public K-12 schools and higher education. This would result in devastating additional reductions in funding for USA's academic programs. The failure of Amendment One represents a great financial risk to both our health care and academic programs.

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