Alabama House approves BP settlement that could help Medicaid
The Alabama House of Representatives Thursday evening approved a split of BP payments between the state and coastal counties while freeing up extra money for Medicaid.
The legislation would securitize the payments due to the state, roughly $1 billion over several years, in a single $639 million payment. The money is part of the oil company's settlement with Gulf Coast states over the 2010 Gulf oil spill and the damages it caused along the coast.
$448 million would go to pay off state debt and $191 million would go to two major road projects in Mobile and Baldwin counties. The moves could free up $70 million for the state’s Medicaid program, which says it needs an extra $85 million over its current 2017 budget to survive.
The bill differs from an earlier Senate version that provided more money for road projects and less for debt repayment. House Ways and Means Chairman Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, the bill's sponsor, said Thursday the House would not budge on its debt repayment number.