Friday, September 14th, 2012
On Tuesday, the people of Alabama will have the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment that will impact every state agency. The outcome of Tuesday’s vote will affect our hospitals, nursing homes, law enforcement, prisons, the court system, etc. Most importantly, the outcome of Tuesday’s vote will affect everyone in the state of Alabama. Tuesday’s vote is critical.
What you may not realize is that this amendment must pass for our local hospitals and all the healthcare service providers around the state to continue to offer the services our community requires. What you may not realize is that this amendment must pass to avoid the collapse of Alabama’s Medicaid system. What you may not realize is that this amendment must pass for our correctional facilities to continue operating and to avoid the release of prisoners into our communities. What you may not realize is that this amendment must pass to ensure that our court system continues to function and our district attorneys have the resources to investigate and prosecute crimes.
While some people think that a little collateral damage is acceptable during a budget crisis, if this amendment fails, the damage will be disastrous. Many of our local hospitals could be compelled to close their doors, while many of our seniors could be forced out of our local nursing homes. The doctors who currently care for us and our families may be required to relocate in order make a decent living. Make no mistake about it, if the amendment fails, the affects to healthcare across our state will will be drastic. When this happens, it won’t matter if your insurance card says “Blue Cross Blue Shield” or even “Medicare”, there may not be anyone there to care for you.
Beyond the impact on healthcare, one of the leading economists in our state says that the failure of the amendment will cost the state more than 10,000 jobs. These are real jobs that Alabama families depend on today. Make no mistake about it, thousands of jobs will be lost across our state that will disproportionately hit middle-class families the hardest.
Finally, if the amendment fails, an unbalanced budget will go into effect on October 1, all the while, the Supermajority in Montgomery has no Plan B.
Thus, I encourage those who oppose the amendment to consider the consequences of it failing. Consider what is at stake. Consider the reality.
On Tuesday, the citizens of Alabama will be asked to make a very important decision—a decision that will affect the future our state, as we know it. On Tuesday, as a citizen of Alabama, I will be voting “YES.”
Senator Marc Keahey has served in the Alabama Senate since 2009. Senator Keahey represents southwest Alabama, including Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Mobile, Monroe, and Washington counties.