By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, March 20, 2017, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) was joined by Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia), State Senator Trip Pittman (R-Montrose), Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper), State Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar, and key aides in Washington DC. The team is in Washington hoping to influence the effort to repeal and replace the controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, better known as Obamacare.
Governor Bentley met with Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price. Gov. Bentley said in a statement: “I appreciate the time and attention HHS Secretary Price has afforded me, and the state of Alabama related to our potential concerns with the America Health Care Act. After a productive discussion with Secretary Price I have been given steady assurances that Alabama, a State that stood strong and chose not to expand Medicaid, will be given much needed flexibility to adjust to and accommodate any changes in the Repeal and Replacement of the ACA. I believe, given those assurances, that as Governor, I can lend my support for this important piece of legislation.”
Gov. Bentley said, “We’ve worked many weeks leading discussions with fellow non-expansion governors and with the Trump Administration to address Alabama’s concerns. Today I was pleased to hear Secretary Price’s assurance that Alabama’s efforts to reform Medicaid through our Regional Care Organizations will indeed be supported by this Administration. Tomorrow, along with members of our Legislative leadership, I am looking forward to continuing this productive dialogue with the White House as well as our Alabama delegation as we work through this historic new law.”
Gov. Bentley said, “As a Physician and as Alabama’s Governor, I have stood in opposition to the Affordable Care Act from day one. It’s not about health care of patients, and it’s certainly anything but affordable. Alabama stood strong against the expansion of Medicaid because we simply cannot afford it. Now that a Repeal of the ACA appears imminent, we want to insure Alabama’s Medicaid system will be supported, and states given broad flexibility in any efforts to replace this unworkable and expensive law. We want to insure Alabama’s needs are known and clearly understood before a vote takes place.”
Gov. Bentley and his team have also met with US Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Bentley said on Twitter, “Good meeting with Senator Cruz on rising cost of health care premiums. Agree Repeal/Replace must not cost taxpayers any more.”
Gov. Bentley also met with US Representative Chris Collins (R-New York). Gov. Bentley said, “Appreciate @RepChrisCollins time today. Encouraged by @HouseCommerce commitment to Fairness for Non-expansion states in ACA’s “unwinding”.”
Gov. Bentley and his team will meet with Alabama’s congressional delegation on Tuesday and then will return home Tuesday evening.
Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) expects to have a vote on repealing and replacing Obamacare as early as Thursday.