Groups urge Ivey to look at Medicaid expansion amidst COVID-19

Group pushes to expand Medicaid during COVID-19 crisis

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - There is a renewed push for Medicaid expansion from more than 60 groups amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. A coalition called Cover Alabama formed to urge Gov. Kay Ivey to expand Medicaid.

Rev. Carolyn Foster with Episcopal Diocese of Alabama is part of the group.

“COVID-19 is an immediate and dangerous health threat but low-income people experience immediate and dangerous health threats every day because they have no health coverage,” Foster said.

Supporters said Medicaid expansion would stabilize hospitals, boost the economy and cover those who don’t make enough money to purchase health insurance.

But once again this push for Medicaid expansion is hitting somewhat of a brick wall. Some Republicans continue to question how the state will pay for it.

Gov. Kay Ivey addressed the push for Medicaid expansion Tuesday at a press conference.

“It would be irresponsible to think about expanding Medicaid just for the sake of expanding Medicaid without having a complete and honest discussion about the source of stable funding to pay the match, etc. It is an option," Ivey said.

An expansion could cost more than one hundred million dollars. State lawmakers are expecting “bare-bones” budgets for next year.

“I’m aware of the interest that’s there," Ivey said. "But there’s a lot of exploring that has to be done on how you pay for it.”

A total of 36 other states have expanded Medicaid. The coalition says if Alabama expanded Medicaid it would provide insurance for about 220,000 Alabamians.

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