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The Introduction to the Debate on Medicaid Expansion in Alabama

by Patrick Jackson
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, February 26, 2013. The Alabama Senate Democratic Caucus unveiled SB 259 during a press conference. SB 259 is a bill sponsored by Senator Roger Bedford (D-Russellville) and will be cosponsored by all Democratic Senators. It will require Medicaid expansion in the state of Alabama. The members of the Alabama Senate Democratic Caucus believe that this bill would expand the Medicaid program to provide assistance to all persons for whom federal matching funds are available to the state under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
During the press conference there were many references to expanding Medicaid by the members of the Alabama Senate Democratic Caucus as “putting people before politics”, “good for the economy and business”, and the “difference between life and death.”

The expansion of Medicaid in Alabama can happen in one of two ways. Either the Governor or the Legislature can enact it. “We’re calling on the Governor to enact Medicaid expansion so that 300,000 Alabamians will have a better quality of life. But we are also prepared to pass legislation if the Governor won’t act”, stated Senator Bedford.

Senator Bedford also went on to state that the expansion of Medicaid is “one of the largest opportunities that we have faced to create new jobs in Alabama. It’s an economic stimulus. To accept the expansion of Medicaid for 300,000 Alabamians is the right thing to do. Almost seven percent of Alabamians that have no coverage now will be able to receive it at no cost to the state. The first three years are 100 percent paid for by the federal government, and then the federal government will pay 90 cents on the dollar. It’s a sound investment. We hope Alabama will go for it.”

On February 26, 2013, SB259 was read for the first time and then referred to the Senate Committee on Health.

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