Gov. Robert Bentley has announced that he will oppose the Medicaid expansion for Alabama under the Affordable Health Care Act. From the tenor of his announcement, it appears his position is based as much upon making a protest as on the merits.
As someone who has been involved for 27 years in the issues of access to medical care for our neediest citizens, with apologies to the great English statesman Edmund Burke, I respond to the governor: “I beseech you in the bowels of Christ to consider that you may be mistaken.”
First a few points about the Medicaid expansion:
Gov. Bentley, it seems like overkill for Alabama to forego these billions of dollars for the benefit of our neediest citizens just to register unhappiness about Obamacare. To borrow an expression from my dear departed mom: Would we be cutting off our nose to spite our face?
Please also consider the human costs of rejecting the Medicaid expansion. It is a tragedy that 350,000 Alabamians will be denied insurance coverage and health care. Please look at this as an investment in “human capital.”
A healthier workforce will produce more. Healthier children will fare better in school. The poor stepchildren of Alabama can walk through the door for health care.
As our highest-elected official and “doctor in chief,” we hope you will be guided not by ideology but by the well-being of your people. Will you please hear from all the stakeholders and be ready to hit the “reset button”?
(Hank Caddell graduated from Decatur High School, the University of Alabama and Harvard Law School. He practices law in Mobile and for almost three decades has worked to promote access to health care for that city’s low-income citizens.)
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