MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - I've come to the conclusion listening to Governor Bentley throughout the year that his position against Medicaid expansion in Alabama under the Affordable Care Act is based more on emotion and political pretence than logic. It's time to take the emotion and political rancor out of this issue as Alabama is almost out of time to receive the first installment of $375 million dollars in additional federal Medicaid disbursements.
Over the course of the year we all heard statements from our governor why he would steadfastly disapprove of Medicaid expansion and not accept the available federal funds to provide medical care to approximately 300,000 individuals and families in need; 300,000 Alabamians when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st will be "left out in the cold." If I read the most recent billboards that have gone up around our state our governor is all about creating "jobs." The irony here is according to a study by Culverhouse College of Commerce at The University of Alabama the annual job impact of the expansion on Alabama would be roughly 30,700 new jobs. This would be the single greatest job creation project our state has ever seen; but still no, says our governor.
The problem that I've had from the very beginning with our governor's position on expanding Medicaid is he has given us his feelings on why he won't support it, but feelings aren't what we or he should be making this decision on. Without any strong, thoughtful counter arguments or studies against expansion provided to us by Governor Bentley, I'm left with one conclusion … our governor would rather say no to expansion and the probability that it could help hundreds of thousands of people than align himself with a President and political party contrary to his own.
Leaders must be willing to step away from what is convenient, conventional or politically expedient to do what's right. Alabama has a real opportunity to invest and improve the physical and financial well being for future generations.
Governor, we ask that you reconsider your position and expand Medicaid. If your desire is to hold steadfast to your current position then I would like to offer you a guest editorial opportunity on this station to once and for all make your case why Medicaid expansion is a bad thing. I will respectfully await your response.