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Del Marsh opposes Doug Jones’ continued calls for Medicaid expansion

Last week, Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) renewed his call for Medicaid expansion in Alabama, and one state leader says the government run healthcare program already gets more than enough funding.

In an interview with Yellowhammer News, Alabama senate leader Del Marsh (R-Anniston) said Jones does not have a realistic view of the costs associated with the program.

“The reality is that we are handful of states that chose not to take the money,” Marsh pointed out. “These states that have taken the money ultimately will see the costs, the down the road costs, they weren’t anticipating when the federal government steps away. We don’t want to be in that position because once you offer services, and then have to take them back, it’s a very painful experience.”

According to Marsh, Medicaid gets more discretionary money out of Alabama’s general fund budget than any other state agency. He said it totals approximately $750 million.

“They get their share,” Marsh said.

“We have worked over the last four years to bring Medicaid costs under control,” he added. “And we are going to continue to do that. We’ve made changes in the system to make it more efficient. And I think the worst thing we could do as a state right now is to change that philosophy and just let these [state] agencies spend all the money they can spend, and they will.”

Marsh believes the health of Alabama’s economy should feature prominently among the reasons not to expand the program.

He said that some Medicaid recipients should be coming off the rolls because of the strength of the economy.

“We worked to improve the economy,” he said “We’ve got a great economy right now. Unemployment is at record lows. When you’ve got a good economy, the pressure on Medicaid goes down.”

Marsh simply thinks the risk posed by increased spending for Medicaid far outweighs any available benefit.

“We want to encourage a good economy,” he said. “We want to encourage an efficient system and the last thing we want to do is send a message that ‘spend as much as you want because the federal government is coming to the rescue and oh, by the way, they are leaving in a few years and then it’s all on us.'”

Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News.

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