The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 18, 2014

Expansion of Medicaid is needed


There’s been a great debate about the federal government influencing, nay, sticking its nose into state affairs.

And that debate has evolved into a distrust of the U.S. government by some people – including the leaders of state government, i.e., Gov. Robert Bentley.

The governor even went so far as to use a large part of his State of the State address to criticize the federal government, i.e., President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”

In the same speech that extolled the virtues of the state’s workers – “… the best workforce in the country is right here in Alabama …” -  the governor said the ACA is “taking our nation deeper into the abyss of debt.”

And, he said, because of the debt, “I cannot expand Medicaid in Alabama.”

He is against expanding Medicaid because, even though the U.S. will pay for it for three years, “how can we believe the federal government?”

“They’ll give us free money for Medicaid expansion,” he said. “Ladies and gentlemen, nothing is free.”

To his credit, the governor did say “we are reforming Medicaid in Alabama.”

That is wonderful and we are for that, but reforming a broken system cannot be accomplished overnight.

In the meantime, the state needs to take advantage of the offer and expand Medicaid to help its citizens.

Time is something we can’t afford to lose.