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Regional News/South: Coalition aims to sell Alabama governor on Medicaid expansion


By Virgil Dickson
Posted: December 14, 2013 - 12:01 am ET
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The Alabama Hospital Association is part of a new effort to sell Medicaid expansion to the state's Republican governor, who thus far appears to be one of the least likely governors in the U.S. to get on board.

The hospital association joined a coalition called Alabama's Better Economy Starts Today, also known as Alabama's BEST (Alabamasbest.org). The participants, which also include several patient advocacy and physician groups, are attempting to make the business case for extending coverage to 300,000 residents under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

They argue, for example, that the state could create 30,000 jobs by either adding beneficiaries to the traditional Medicaid rolls or buying coverage for them in the new insurance marketplace—the path chosen by Republican governors in Iowa and Arkansas.

Gov. Robert Bentley, however, has called the studies that produced that figure “bogus.”

Bentley, whose office did not respond to requests for comment, has flatly declined to cooperate with any provision of the Affordable Care Act. “The majority of the people of this country do not like it,” he said recently, according to a local newspaper. “And I'm not going to be a part of it.”

Follow Virgil Dickson on Twitter: @MHVDickson

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