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Bentley will not shut the door on Medicaid expansion

Earlier this week we posed “Six questions for the 2014 election cycle.” One of those questions was “Will Governor Bentley expand Medicaid?”

We reached out to the governor’s office to see where things currently stand on the potential for Medicaid expansion. Here’s the exchange we had with Governor Bentley’s press secretary Jennifer Ardis:

Bentley Press Sec. Jennifer Ardis

The Governor has said repeatedly in the past that he did not want to expand a broken [Medicaid] program. With the Medicaid reforms that passed this session, is the program “fixed” to the point that he will reconsider expanding it?

For the first time, we have been able to revamp the Medicaid program in Alabama. Thanks to successful legislation, Alabama is moving from a fee-for-service model to a system that better manages costs and promotes better outcomes for patients. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of care for the patient.

Governor Bentley has said all along that Medicaid is a broken system and believes it is irresponsible to expand a broken Medicaid system. It will take some time for these reforms to be implemented and begin to benefit patients currently on the Medicaid rolls. That’s our priority right now. That’s our focus. We are improving the system we have for the people who are currently enrolled.

So the Governor is not ruling out an expansion once the reforms are fully implemented, the quality of care is increased to a level he’s happy with, and costs are brought under control?

It will take some time for these reforms to be implemented and begin to actually benefit patients currently on the Medicaid rolls. That’s the Governor’s priority right now.

Here is a map that shows where each state currently stands on Medicaid expansion:

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