The head of the powerful Retirement Systems of Alabama is making another plea to Governor Robert Bentley to expand the state's medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare".
Dr. David Bronner says the move would bring millions of federal dollars to the state, and now he's pointing to an effort by Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry to pursue federal money for his state.
To be clear, what Texas is doing is not really expansion, but more of an attempt to get new Medicaid dollars under Obamacare. That's something Alabama's governor says he still won't consider, even with the outspoken Dr. Bronner applying more and more public pressure.
If Texas is doing is doing it, then so should Alabama, kind of. That's the message coming from Bronner. Gov. Perry is looking to receive increased medicaid payments - specifically for the elderly and disabled - to the tune of about a $100 million.
The program was set up under the Affordable Care Act, but it's by no means wholesale expansion of Medicaid. RSA's Bronner views it differently, another conservative looking to dip into the Medicaid pool, even if it's the very shallow end.
In a recent editorial, Bronner wrote, "We start losing "our" money to other states come January, if our good governor "Doc" Bentley does not re-consider his opposition to the Medicaid expansion..."
When asked in Bullock County whether Alabama has considered anything similar to Gov. Perry's request, Gov. Bentley said, "My plans right now are to make our Medicaid system in this state work. We've just done that with legislation that we have passed and we want to make it work before we talk about anything else."
If Alabama doesn't expand Medicaid by the end of this year, it will miss out on almost $400 million dollars to start next year, but would have to foot 10 percent of the total expansion cost by the year 2020. That would cost the state almost $800 million over the next six years.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Retirement Systems of Alabama is the primary lender to Raycom Media, the parent company of this station.
Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.
1720 Valley View Drive