Medicaid Reform Plan

There’s a new player in town for the 2016 Alabama Medicaid budget battle. It brings to the table a game plan, years of friendly relations with the other players and a multi-million-dollar stake.

The question is whether a reform idea, even backed with that history and funding, is enough to influence the entrenched model of politicians and advocates arguing over too little money, too much need and no fundamental change.

The player is Alabama Medicaid’s regional care organization plan, a managed care-style approach intended to deal with illnesses before they are emergencies and designed to both slow the growth in costs and improve health outcomes.

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Voter Guide

Alabama voters go to the polls March 1, and there’s a lot more on the ballot than the high-profile presidential race.

In Democratic and Republican primaries, voters will nominate candidates  for U.S. Senate and the state’s Public Service Commission president, Supreme Court and Board of Education, plus decide on an amendment.

Voters in Jefferson and Shelby counties will pick nominees for judgeships, school board seats, district attorney and treasurer offices.

BirminghamWatch and Weld For Birmingham, Public Radio WBHM 90.3 FM, Starnes Publishing, B-Metro and Kaleidoscope are collaborating to offer this one-stop, interactive, factual, non-partisan Voter Guide.

Candidate profiles, sample ballots, answers about issues, campaign contributor lists, info on where to vote and more. It’s all in the guide below.

Fine-Collection Company Stops Work in Alabama

Judicial Correction Services, the private probation company that charged Alabama’s poorest residents fees to collect municipal fines on a payment plan, announced it will no longer operate in the state. The company sent a statement to cities that continued to contract with JCS, despite a threat of lawsuits by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which led the push for cities to stop working with JCS.