MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Two dozen grassroots conservative leaders from across Alabama came together on Thursday to write a letter to Gov. Robert Bentley urging him not to expand the state’s Medicaid program.
In the letter, the group says they feel “obligated to hold (Gov. Bentley) accountable to the campaign promises (he) ran on to be elected and subsequently re-elected Governor,” most notably his promises not to expand Medicaid or to raise taxes.
In several states around the country, Republican governors have recently proposed plans that resembled Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare, but have used different terminology.
Similar to Arkansas’ plan, which they dubbed the “private option,” Bentley has said he’d like to be able to funnel federal tax dollars through the state government and into private insurers. They would then use those taxpayer dollars to cover uninsured individuals up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, the same ultimate outcome as Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare.
Similar to Pennsylvania’s unsuccessful pitch to the Obama Administration, Bentley has also mentioned some form of work or workforce training requirement for new individuals receiving insurance under his plan.
But the governor says he is now just in the early stages of crafting what could ultimately become his proposal.
“Medicaid Expansion by any other name is still a broken promise,” the group of conservative leaders said in a press release Thursday. “Quoting from the Governor’s State of the State address, ‘Now they are telling us we’ll get ‘free money’ to expand Medicaid, Ladies and gentlemen, nothing is free. The money the federal government is spending with wild abandon is not ‘federal’ dollars. Those are your dollars, your hard-earned tax dollars.'”
Asked to respond to the letter, a spokesperson for the governor’s office told Yellowhammer that Gov. Bentley’s position has not changed.
“The Governor is opposed to Medicaid expansion,” said Jennifer Ardis, Bentley’s communications director. “He always has (been).”
The full letter can be read below.
Dear Governor Bentley:
We the people, conservatives of Alabama have stood by you throughout the last four years. We have rallied with you against big government. We have stood beside you when you called. We have been supportive when you have pushed for policies that will make our state and our nation stronger and we have been patient when in cases like the fight against Common Core you have done little to nothing.
We are however obligated to hold you, our elected official accountable to the campaign promises you ran on to be elected and subsequently re-elected Governor of our great state. You campaigned specifically on not expanding Medicaid, and according to recent media reports from multiple outlets, you are now open to expanding it. Therefore, we are writing to encourage you, if not demand of you, that you immediately put these rumors to rest and state for the record once and for all that Medicaid expansion will not happen under your watch now or ever.
We could tell you all of the evils of Medicaid expansion but it seems only right to quote directly from your own 2014 State of the State speech, “Now they are telling us we’ll get ‘free money’ to expand Medicaid, Ladies and gentlemen, nothing is free. The money the federal government is spending with wild abandon is not ‘federal’ dollars. Those are your dollars, your hard-earned tax dollars.”
According to Heritage Foundation, “On net, the expansion would cost Alabama Taxpayers $569 million thru 2022.” That is raising Taxes, again not an Alabama value. General rule of Capitalism is you want more of it, tax it less.
Let us be clear, Medicaid expansion by any name including, expansion through a waiver program is still expansion and will cost Alabama taxpayers additional money.
Governor Bentley, the country and our State is in dire circumstances because of out of control big government and at some point in time, we have to stop digging. It is our generation’s call to lay down the shovels and suffer the cruel fate of consequences or our children and grandchildren will suffer far worse.
Be the Leader we all need to guide us through the uphill and difficult times.
This is Alabama, this is America, we will rise up out of the rubble that big government has laid at our feet, or our leaders will force us to bury ourselves in its burdensome weight.
The citizens of Alabama will not forget and will not give up. We have about had enough of false promises and phony leaders; from Capitol Hill to Goat Hill, the natives are very restless. Do not let your legacy be that of broken promises and costly policies.
Zan Green, Founder Rainy Day Patriots
Ann Eubank, Jefferson Co/Shelby Co Rainy Day Patriots Chair
Apryl Marie Fogel, Rainy Day Patriots Media Chair
Bash Agricola, Leader Montgomery Tea Party
Roger Hill, Chairman Walker County Tea Party
Ann Whitten, Delegation Chair Tuscaloosa Rainy Day Patriots
Steve Ross, Rainy Day Patriots God and Country Chair
Steve Johnson, Alabama Watchdogs for Energy Freedom
Steve Phillips, President Tea Party Patriots of North Alabama
Becky Garritson, President Wetumpka Tea Party
Marcia Chambliss, Alabama SGP Action
Dexter Bland, Calhoun County RDP
Ronald R. Hei, Ph.D., CoChair Covington County TPP
Carol L. Moreau, D.S., CoChair Covington County TPP
Kelly G. Berry, The Madison Institute
Pete Riehm, Co-Founder and Chair, CSC Board
Dr. Lou Campomenosi, President, CSC
Frank Dillman of Patriots of Liberty TEA Party
Woody Wood, John Birch Society Chapter
Jodi McDade, Concerned Citizen of Alabama
Cindy G. Cheaves, Patriots of Liberty Tea Party – Auburn-Opelika Steve Phillips, President Tea Party Patriots of North Alabama
Brenda Bowen, Greenville Tea Party Association
Dawn Ray Get Out The Tea Party Vote RDP
Jim Hall Dauphin Island Tea Party RDP
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— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) December 3, 2014