We are all well aware that Governor Bentley chose to not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in 2014. Thus far, this decision has resulted in $375 million dollars that did not enter into Alabama's Medicaid program in the first quarter and therefore, was not available to help additional Alabamians in need.
In less than two weeks, another $375 million will disappear as we move into April. $750 million, even in state economic budget terms, is an enormous amount of much-needed money to pass on based on principle.
Just to refresh your memory, this is available federal money that you are already paying funded at 100% for the 1st three years to the tune of $1.5 billion a year for Alabama's Medicaid system. $4.5 billion over these three fully funded years that would support Alabama's Medicaid system and help bridge the gap in a system facing steep funding challenges in the years ahead.
We elect our leaders to make the tough decisions, but we also expect them to represent the people. I'd like to remind our Governor that 64% of Alabamians, according to a poll conducted by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, had a favorable view of expanding Medicaid. Almost 7 out of 10 Alabamians were in favor of expansion, but still … "No!" says our Governor.
We bring this subject up yet again, because it deserves to stay out in the open. If our State's leader continues to stand behind the line he drew in the sand to not accept this revenue then we feel he needs to defend it every step of the way.
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