Robert Bentley on Health Care
Essential to ObamaCare is Medicaid expansion--a federal government dependency program for the uninsured. Since 1980, Medicaid spending has increased nationally by over 1500%. Here in Alabama, Medicaid takes up 35% of our General Fund.
Under ObamaCare, Medicaid would grow even larger--bringing millions more people to a state of dependency on government, and saddling our state and our nation--the taxpayers--with the enormous expense.
Now they are telling us we'll get free money to expand Medicaid. Those are your hard-earned tax dollars. Our great nation is $17.2 trillion in debt and it increases by $2 billion every single day. That is why I cannot expand Medicaid in Alabama. We will not bring hundreds of thousands into a system that is broken and buckling.
And the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act does not protect patients. 22% of primary care doctors account for 90% of primary care billing. If we were to add 300,000 to Medicaid--where would they receive care?
Already in Alabama, because of ObamaCare, over 87,000 people have seen a change in their coverage, and you or someone you know has likely seen your premiums double. Business and job growth is being stifled. Employers are leaving positions unfilled, or laying off workers so they can fall under the employee threshold that would require them to participate in ObamaCare.
As Governors, we are writing to you regarding the excessive constraints placed on us by healthcare-related federal mandates. One of our biggest concerns continues to be the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which prevent states from managing their Medicaid programs for their unique Medicaid populations. We ask for your immediate action to remove these MOE requirements so that states are once again granted the flexibility to control their program costs and make necessary budget decisions.
Every Governor, Republican and Democrat, will face unprecedented budget challenges in the coming months. Efforts to regulate state operations impose greater uncertainty on our budgets for oncoming years and create a perfect storm when coupled with the current state of the economy.
Health and education are the primary cost drivers for most state budgets. Medicaid enrollment is up. Revenues are down. States are unable to afford the current Medicaid program, yet our hands are tied by the MOE requirements. The effect of the federal requirements is unconscionable; the federal requirements force Governors to cut other critical state programs, such as education, in order to fund a "one-size-fits-all" approach to Medicaid. Again, we ask you to lift the MOE requirements so that states may make difficult budget decisions in ways that reflect the needs of their residents.