Medicaid budget request brings debate and frustration, Howard comments on winning Championship

Jan 13, 2016

Alabama's Medicaid program says it will need an additional $157 million to maintain services next year. It's a request that caused lawmakers to lash out at expense of the healthcare program and its recipients.

Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar says the agency will have to cut services if it doesn't get close to that amount. She says the state might also have to abandon an ongoing switch to managed care without enough additional funds.

Lawmakers expressed frustration about the cost of the healthcare program for the poor and disabled. Republican Rep. Lynn Greer says Medicaid costs will be the "downfall" of the state.

The federal government is charging a major automotive supplier with union law violations. APR’s Alex AuBuchon reports Lear Corporation is accused of using scare tactics to keep workers in Selma from unionizing.

The National Labor Relations Board is accusing Lear Corporation, a major Hyundai supplier, of intimidating employees for trying to unionize at a plant in Selma. Workers say union representation would allow them to fight for better wages and improved safety conditions.

Letasha Irby has worked at Lear Selma for nearly ten years. She describes what happened when workers started talking unions.

“As we tried to organize, upper management started saying that if we get a union in our plant, that our plant would close. And if we ever tried to get another job, if they ever saw that we came from a unionized plant, that they wouldn’t want to hire us.”

Lear Corporation is denying all charges and intends to defend itself vigorously.

Class is getting underway today at the University of Alabama. That includes returning players for the Crimson Tide who are fresh from Monday night’s championship win over Clemson.

After Alabama’s 43-to-37 loss to Ole Miss in September, many wrote off the Tide’s chances of winning a National Championship this season.  All doubters were proven wrong as Bama defeated Clemson 45-to-40 to win the program’s 16th National Championship.

A lot of the success in Monday night’s win rested on the shoulders of junior tight end OJ Howard.  He caught all five of his passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter.  He says ending the season this way is very gratifying…

“This is what we stood up and said at the beginning of the season. We wanted to come out and win a National Championship this season and our team fought hard for that, and I'm just so proud of our team, and no team deserved this more than we do.”

Howard’s performance earned him the Offensive MVP honors.  His touchdown receptions went for 53 and 51 yards respectively.