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Reaction to Bentley Rejection of Obamacare Falls Along Partisan Lines

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama Republicans rejoiced at Governor Robert Bentley’s (R) decision not to implement a state healthcare exchange or expand the Alabama Medicaid program.  Alabama Democrats were less enthused.

Speaker of the Alabama House Mike Hubbard (R) from Auburn said on Facebook, “Gov. Bentley understands that government must live within its means and personal liberties must be protected at all costs. I applaud his principled stand against Obamacare.”

House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D) from Gadsden said in a written statement, “It is very disappointing that Gov. Bentley has chosen to hand over control of the state’s health insurance exchange to the federal government. Federal law requires the state to set up an insurance exchange. Because the governor has refused to follow the law, the federal government is going to set up the exchange anyway and without any input from the people of Alabama.”

The Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party Bill Armistead said, “I applaud Governor Bentley’s decision today for Alabama to opt out of the Federal mandates imposed by Obama-Care.  The voters in Alabama have spoken loud and clear in sending Barack Obama a message that we do not like his liberal policies and I am glad to stand with Governor Bentley in opposing Obama-Care here in Alabama. I hope other conservative Governor’s will follow the lead of Governor Bentley and have their states opt out of these Obama-Care exchanges.”

ACPP Executive Director Kimble Forrister said, “Health care reform offers Alabama a way up from the bottom.  Coverage for the most vulnerable would mean more stable, timely care that lowers our reliance on emergency rooms. Better primary and preventive care would finally start to bring down the chronic disease rates that have held us back for so long. Leaving billions of federal dollars on the table in Washington is a shortsighted move for our economy. We’re hopeful that the legislative and executive panels now working on Medicaid reform can propose structural changes that make a compelling case for expansion. Alabamians deserve as good a deal from health care reform as the people in other states are getting.”

The President of the Rainy Day Patriots Zan Green said, “Thank you Governor Bentley” following the Monday announcement.  Over the weekend, Green wrote, “We are encouraged by Governor Bentley as he speaks of staying the course with the other governors of the 34 states who are proposing to refuse to set up state healthcare exchanges.  We expect him, as our last line of defense against the Tyranny of the Federal Government, to protect the citizens of Alabama. He will be saving Alabama taxpayers billions of dollars by defying the federal government.”

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Dr. Pippa Abston wrote on the Democrat leaning blog Left in Alabama, “I see he is not only going to pass on the Exchanges but took the opportunity to opt out of the Medicaid Expansion, the only really decent thing in the ACA.  I’m floored.  Not going to have a change to blog on this unexpected bit for a day or so, but wow.  I am very surprised.  After my initial worry at the SCOTUS decision, I had been persuaded that the hospital lobby would likely prevail and we’d get the expansion.  I don’t know how they are going to handle the DSH (disproportionate share hospital) cuts minus the expansion.”

Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan (R) said on Twitter, “Gov. Bentley has done the right thing concerning the state insurance exchange. It’s the fiscally responsible way.”

Rep. Ford said, “It is also very disappointing that the governor has refused to expand the state’s Medicaid program. The expansion would have been almost completely paid for by the federal government, and the state would have had the option to back out of it at any time if we were not able to continue paying our part for it. We are leaving millions of dollars on the table, but more importantly we are leaving thousands of Alabamians without healthcare.”

Speaker Hubbard said, “The governor is in discussions with roughly two dozen of his counterparts in other states to coalesce against Obamacare and push back against its mandates.  It’s my hope that this coalition can send a wakeup call to Washington and reverse the dangerous trend of liberal policies and directives that Obama and Congressional Democrats are pushing so hard to implement. Alabamians clearly signaled they agree with these beliefs with their overwhelming votes against Obama and in favor of the anti-Obamacare constitutional amendment just last week.”

Rep. Ford said, “The governor’s decision is not about making the right choice for the people of Alabama. The governor’s decision is about playing politics and wanting to appear like he is fighting Obamacare, when all he has really done is turn over these crucial decisions to the federal government and lost an opportunity to get our tax dollars back from the federal government.”

Written By

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.



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