Previous-Congressman Artur Davis has now weighed in on the Medicaid expansion. Writing in al.com, he says:
There are numerous reasons why most Americans, and a sizable majority of Alabamians, have no confidence in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Millions of consumers have been stunned by an out of the blue notice from their insurers that their policies have been cancelled; a website that was four years in the works has blown up into a national punch-line; and for far too many families, the new law means a substantial hike in what they will pay out of pocket.
Oh, another rant against Obamacare…must be running for Senate. But then, reading on I came to the next paragraph:
So why should Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley sign his state up for one of the ACA’s most substantial provisions, its coverage of virtually all (and after 2017, 90 percent) of the expenses of expanding the state’s Medicaid program to cover all low-wage uninsured adults?
Huh?!? What’s going on?
The blunt fact is that today Alabama experiences the worst of both worlds: its businesses and consumers are subject to all the burdens of Obamacare while roughly 300,000 low wage earning Alabamians remain uninsured because they qualify for neither the ACA’s subsidies nor the state’s existing, bare-bones Medicaid program.
Wow, someone with an R behind their name making sense on healthcare. He goes on to make the case that sick people don’t work and that given the way the law is set up we lose the money we were getting to care for these people. Most powerful, though, is his closing. First, he points out that people get sick and we pay for it whether or not they are insured:
So, critics of expansion aren’t really resisting a new entitlement that Alabama can’t afford. To the contrary, they are defending an off the book indigent care system that anyone who runs a business or visits a doctor helps to finance. There may be some rationale for preferring that status quo, but it’s certainly not fiscal conservatism or accountability.
He goes on to charge Governor Bentley:
Gov. Bentley is right that within four years, Alabama will start to owe a ten percent match, and growth alone can’t be counted on to cover that entire bill: Some of the extra money could well be drawn from popular programs that the strongest advocates of expansion like very much. But figuring out how to make an investment windfall sustainable is a task businesses manage every day. The governor’s four years of responsible, pro growth leadership suggest he and Alabama are ready to embrace the same challenge.
I really liked Mr Davis-R’s, points. I would, however, avoid the comments.