White House report: Alabama missing out on billions by not expan - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

White House report: Alabama missing out on billions by not expanding Medicaid

(Source: MGN Online) (Source: MGN Online)

The Obama Administration released a new report that details what Alabama and other states could miss out on if they don't expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Alabama's Governor Robert Bentley has said continuously since the Fall of 2012 that Alabama would not expand a "broken system." He added the state can't consider allowing more people into the program until Medicaid in Alabama is more efficient and serves patients better.

According to the report, Medicaid expansion could lead to 235,000 people obtaining health coverage, a smaller number than other studies from UAB and the Kaiser Family Foundation have estimated.

[DOCUMENT: White House report (.pdf)]

The study also concludes that the state could add to the number of people who receive procedures like mammograms, pap smears, and cholesterol screenings if Medicaid was to expand in the state. 9,300 people could receive mammograms, 14,200 could receive pap smears, and more than 32,000 could receive cholesterol screenings.

The state wouldn't be opening the program free of charge either. Alabama, it's been estimated, would have to shell out tens of millions in new administrative costs to handle the newly insured population.

Alabama's Medicaid program is already among the most restrictive in the country with the program providing coverage primarily for pregnant women, children, and the elderly who hover around the poverty level. Medicaid expansion would open the program to individuals and families at 135% of the federal poverty level which equates to an individual making slightly more than $16,000 per year and a family of four with an annual income of approximately $32,000.

Gov. Bentley's campaign spokesperson, Rebekah Mason, released a statement on the study saying, It's difficult to believe a report released by Washington bureaucrats who have increased the national debt by trillions of dollars, run our economy into the ground and believe the federal government has all the answers." Mason continued by saying, "They lied when they said you could keep your own doctor. They lied when they said you could keep your own insurance and they lied when they said costs would go down. Why in the world would you believe one word they are saying today?"

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Parker Griffith has campaigned on a platform of expanding Medicaid not just to improve health outcomes but for economic development.

The report says Alabama stands to create more than 15,000 jobs and receive over $3 billion in federal funding to expand. 

The Griffith campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Alabama is one of 24 states that have decided not to expand Medicaid.

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