MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - As the state’s Republican leaders pushed a near-total abortion ban into law this week, Democratic leaders vowed to continue their push to improve access to healthcare in Alabama by expanding Medicaid.
House democrats say the abortion law will likely cost the state millions in legal fees, but expanding Medicaid could save the state more than $58 million.
House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, and Representatives Barbara Drummond, D-Mobile, and Neil Rafferty, D-Birmingham, held a news conference Wednesday to discuss ongoing efforts by House Democrats to expand the Medicaid program.
“Expanding Medicaid remains one of our top priorities,” said Daniels. “States that have expanded the program have insured millions and improved healthcare outcomes for their citizens, while Alabama continues to fall behind in yet another category under Republican leadership. It’s time for Alabama to put politics aside and work for the people.”
Alabama state leaders have not expanded Medicaid since Obamacare passed in 2010.
The Yellowhammer State is one of 14 states that hasn’t expanded Medicaid. Ivey released this statement in February after she was asked whether the state would consider expanding Medicaid:
“Before any decisions are made regarding additional services or adding people into the Medicaid program, we must weigh what is most beneficial for the people of Alabama and for the state as a whole. Adequate funding must be ensured to continue providing our current level of services.”
Since 2011, more than a dozen hospitals have closed in Alabama. The most recent was Georgiana Medical Center.
According to the Alabama Hospital Association, expanding Medicare would provide more than 340,000 more Alabamians with health insurance coverage.