"Governor Robert Bentley, we see as the new George Wallace."
That is the stance of Birmingham's NAACP chapter. They're upset because Bentley has refused to expand Medicaid in Alabama under the new Affordable Care Act. Critics believe it's a move that will prevent 300,000 Alabamians from gaining healthcare coverage.
"As George Wallace was trying to stand in the way of progress and integration, Governor Bentley is standing in the way of progress in the form of necessary resources getting to all Alabamians," said Reverend Anthony "Allan" Johnson, special projects manager of Birmingham's NAACP chapter.
"We want Governor Bentley to have a heart. And we want him to accept money that has already been approved. All this is, is a way to get back at the president."
However, the governor believes he's doing the right thing.
"Currently, Medicaid in Alabama is a broken system, and our focus is on fixing the system - not expanding something that's broken," said Jeremy King, Bentley's communications director.
Since announcing he won't expand Medicaid, Bentley has signed reform legislation, as well as established a commission aimed at reducing pharmacy costs in the future.
However, his opponents are most concerned with what is happening in the present.
"People are dying! People are dying," said Johnson. "Resources are necessary, and we see this as a slap in the face, we are incensed, and we are going to stand strong."
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