Alabama's Doctor-Governor Bentley is betraying both his oaths with his refusal to expand Medicaid in Alabama. As a doctor, he pledged to “do no harm” and in his campaign for governor of this state he promised to protect the welfare of Alabama citizens.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine lays bare the consequences of Bentley's refusal to extend health care benefits to some of our most vulnerable citizens. The Center for American Progress analyzed those results and concluded:
Based on the results of the study, we applied the ratio of 2,840 averted deaths within a state population of 14.5 million people to the population of adults between the ages of 19 and 64 in every state to estimate how many lives could be saved through Medicaid expansion. The proportion is based on the average averted mortality rate of states in the original study. The actual estimates for averted deaths for each state will vary depending on the baseline numbers of uninsured and enrollment rates after Medicaid expansion is implemented. State population data is taken from the Kaiser State Health Facts and represents a two-year average of state populations between the ages of 19 and 64 in every state.
In these states alone more than 12,000 lives per year could potentially be saved if state governments agree to expand their Medicaid programs. Let us not lose sight of what is really at stake in the battle over Medicaid.
Governor Bentley dithered last year on the subject of Medicaid expansion:
Gov. Robert Bentley, a doctor, said he has not decided whether to expand Medicaid. “There are many unanswered questions,” he said.
“We'll have to look at how it affects the people of our state, how it affects our budgets. We'll make the decision at the proper date,” Bentley said.
But he was quickly brought into line by the real power in the state…. Speaker Mike Hubbard:
“My first impression is we can't afford what we have now,” Hubbard said.
“We certainly can't afford to add 400,000 people to the rolls, especially when we can't control the eligibility requirements and the services to be provided,” said Hubbard, R-Auburn.
The federal government would pay all the cost of services for new enrollees for the first three years, but then that amount would drop, hitting 90 percent in 2020.
Yep. God knows we need that 10% of the cost to hand over to private businesses in tax rebates, incentives, and eminent domain “takings,” right? Certainly, we can't afford to invest in the citizens of Alabama who pay the taxes to support Mike Hubbard's lavish lifestyle as speaker.
Do no harm, Dr. Bentley? Medicaid expansion doesn't just save lives: it could add thousands of jobs in Alabama. Why don't you care?
Guess that oath doesn't mean much anymore.