Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Robert Wilkerson: Don’t blow it, Bentley

  The best deal in history is being offered to Alabama to expand our Medicaid program. It is best for the needy, helping some 300,000 of Alabama’s lowest income people who have no healthcare coverage. It will prevent some from suffering and even death. It will help the unemployed by creating 30,000 jobs. It will help some Alabama hospitals that may be forced to close their doors due to too much uncompensated care. It will help Alabama’s economy generating over a $28 billion dollar increase in business activity from 2014 to 2020.

  We may be asking, "Where’s the catch?" As far as I can determine, there isn’t one. The federal government will pay the total cost of the expansion for the first three years, and 90 percent of the costs thereafter. This is such a good deal that 29 states and Washington, D.C. have chosen to do it, or are in the process of doing so. Many of Alabama’s most respected leaders, even many in Bentley’s Republican Party, have recommended that we take the deal.

  Bentley, the present Republican governor, has been the hang-up. He is refusing to take the money. We may ask why. He has said the numbers in the studies are bogus, and his goal is not to expand Medicaid, but to have fewer people on it, and have more people working.

  Those kind of statements play well to the wealthy, and people who are still healthy, working, and making a decent living. However, they do not reflect the real world. Alabama has thousands of people (elderly, poor, handicapped, mothers and children, and unemployed) who, through no fault of their own, need help. This is a golden opportunity, and we need to take it!

  One part of a doctor’s oath is a vow to "do no harm." If Bentley doesn’t accept this proposal, he will do a great deal of harm to the neediest people in Alabama, the unemployed, the business community, and the state in general. Please Bentley, don’t blow it!

  About the author: Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life - drbobwilkerson[at],

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