Alabama Governor’s Rejection of Medicaid Expansion Will Add to Economic Hardships, Opponents Say

Alabama’s failure to expand Medicaid has hampered Alabama’s economy, said officials from the health-care and business communities at the Economic Development Association of Alabama’s summer 2014 conference.

Danne Howard, senior vice president of government relations and emergency preparedness for the Alabama Hospital Association, said the state’s unwillingness to expand Medicaid is adding to the economic distress of its rural communities and encumbering economic development efforts, the Birmingham News reported.

Howard added that Republican Gov. Robert Bentley’s decision not to expand Medicaid puts more pressure on health-care providers. At least a dozen rural hospitals have closed across the state, according to Howard, and more than a dozen more could shutter over the next two years.

Howard was the keynote speaker of a rural economic development session that kicked off the conference on Sunday. The conference ends Wednesday.

During his State of the State address in January, Gov. Bentley defended his decision to reject expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. “How can we believe the federal government will keep its word?” said Bentley. “The anything but Affordable Care Act has done nothing to gain our trust.”

Bentley also criticized the federal funding available for expanding Medicaid. “The money the federal government is spending with wild abandon is not ‘federal’ dollars. Those are your dollars, your hard-earned tax dollars,” said Bentley.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government pays for 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion in states for the first three years, and then 90 percent after that.

Bentley has come under criticism for his decision to reject Medicaid expansion, even from members of his own administration. David Bronner, the CEO of Retirement Systems of Alabama, said of the decision to not accept Medicaid expansion:politics is taking precedence over the poor.”

The Alabama Hospital Association, the Business Council of Alabama, AARP Alabama, and the Alabama Primary Health Care Association have all voiced their support for expanding Medicaid in the state.

According to the Alabama Hospital Association’s study, expanding Medicaid in the state would create 30,700 new jobs over the next six years. Conducted by the University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research, the study also found that if all eligible individuals enrolled in an expansion the number of new jobs could reach more than 51,000.

A study by health-care economists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham also found that the expansion would provide the state nearly $1 billion in tax revenue and provide Medicaid coverage for 300,000 more state residents.

A report from Troy University’s Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy challenged those findings. According to that study, the new tax revenue would exceed additional costs only during the first three years of expansion.

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  • StealthGaytheist

    Greedy, evil scumbag.

  • Tom_B_Sr

    “At least a dozen rural hospitals have closed across the state”

    Well, the hospitals were forced to accept non-paying patients as well as not being reimbursed 100% for the bills that were submitted to patients, insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid. (Who knows, the next step our Federal Government might do is require car dealerships to sell poor people cars at 50% of the cost they sell to others – because they are poor.)

    “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
    — James Madison, speech in the House of Representatives, January 10, 1794

    “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”
    –Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Albert Gallatin, 1817

    • fiona64

      I suggest you look up EMTALA and why it was enacted.

      Then, I suggest you check your privilege at the goddamned door.

      • Tom_B_Sr

        Suggested readings:

        • fiona64

          Your “source” is a joke.

          And you’ve as much as admitted that you have no idea what the reason is behind the EMTALA law.

          • Tom_B_Sr

            Why it was enacted is not relevant. It is a bad law in that it forces one group of people to pay for part of the livelihood of another group of people.

          • fiona64

            I smell a Randtard …

          • Tom_B_Sr

            When you know you are losing a debate you personally attack the debater.

          • fiona64

            You haven’t “debated” anything. You’ve put up a couple of Teabircher opinion pieces and maintained that you are paying other people’s salaries because of EMTALA (or do you not know what “livelihood” means?).

            All you’ve done is typical Teabircher/Randtard nonsense: “I got mine, so eff the rest of you.”

            I just call it as I see it, Tommy-boy.

    • Arekushieru

      So, not only will your ilk tax the poor to the brink of homelessness, while giving free tax breaks to the wealthy, they’ll blame the poor for the tax burden THEY shifted onto them and congratulate the wealthy for avoiding something that was PURELY a result of serendipity. At the SAME time, you want to make sure that their footing is even MORE unstable by ensuring that any charitable sources of funding that they could rely on that their wealthy counterparts will not find necessary, because the stable streams of funding that you so oppose for the poor are something that you actively ENDORSE for the wealthy, are also removed. Classist bigot.

      • Tom_B_Sr

        Our U. S. Constitution, as amended, does not allow the federal government to provide for the personal welfare of its citizens. The U. S. Constitution therefore does allow the states to have that power.
        The U. S. Constitution has provisions for amendments to be made which would allow such payments at the federal level be made to individuals.
        All of us must live by our Constitution, as it is presently amended. It obviously doesn’t please you.
        There is nothing in our Constitution prohibiting any individual from giving his/her personal wealth to another. So, why don’t you do that in lieu of trying to take it from others for that purpose?
        Then, everyone would be happy!

        • Arekushieru

          Are US people considered citizens of the US? Then the federal government is disobeying their very own Constitution by providing for the personal welfare of US corporations. Oops. And that’s a CANADIAN telling you, an ignorant US person, THAT. Besides, I thought everyone was ‘created equal’ under the eyes of your Constitution? Guess it just doesn’t include POOR people. I’m SO happy (as are a MAJORITY of Canadians) that that does NOT hold true for the poor in CANADA. In YOUR country, they must survive on unsustainable and unstable sources of funding while wealthy people (corporations OR otherwise) can get all the handouts they can.

          • Tom_B_Sr

            Yes the US Congress, with the consent of the President and the Supreme Court, is and has been violating the very Constitution they swore to uphold!
            I agree, there should be no government handouts for businesses as well!
            The US (federal) government has not been given the power to take money from one group of people and give it to anyone or any business.
            Our Constitution was written to protect its citizens from the government … not the other way around.

    • Arekushieru

      Besides, you might wanna take a look at the MIDDLE blog post at the bottom of the OP to see why you’re ASSumptions may ALSO be wrong.