U.S. District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala, who is drawing attention for her ruling in the Gardendale school case, has been no stranger to headlines in high-profile Alabama cases since she became a judge in 2013.
She is handling the Hoover City Schools’ attendance rezoning issue, which could affect school desegregation in that system. She was the judge in a 2014 Huntsville City Schools desegregation case. And in 2016, she threw out charges and acquitted a Madison police officer accused of using excessive force against an Indian grandfather injured while visiting his son; her actions came after two juries deadlocked on verdicts.
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.
A story in The New York Times reported an optimistic message from new research about American life spans: The right mix of steps to improve habits and public health could help people live longer, regardless of how much money they make.
One of the places this seems to be happening is Birmingham.