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Listen: Dem gubernatorial hopeful Walt Maddox, Talk 99.5’s Matt Murphy spar over Alabama Medicaid expansion

In an appearance Monday on Birmingham’s Talk 99.5 “Matt & Aunie Show,” Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walt Maddox fielded questions from co-host Matt Murphy about the merits of expanding Medicaid in Alabama, a favorite policy position of many of the state’s Democratic elected officials.

“I think Medicaid is working in Alabama,” he said.

“It serves mostly our children and those that are disabled,” Maddox explained. “Those very few people that meet those criteria are on Medicaid. Nearly a million people are on it, by the way. But let me tell you why Medicaid expansion is important because we certainly have talked about it. This is where we are in Alabama 89 percent of our rural hospitals are in the red today. More than 50 percent of our urban hospitals are in the red today, places like Alex City where we were last week.”

“So what happened?” he continued. “What flipped in the health care dynamic? When the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, passed in 2010, it was challenged in the Supreme Court. And one of the rulings that came out of that challenge was that states had the option to expand Medicaid because initially, states had no choice.”

He went on to explain that under Obamacare, Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments have decreased, meaning that the federal subsidies that some Alabama hospitals have diminished.

Murphy pressed Maddox on Medicaid expansion and pointed out that in his view it was a failing system and is on track to overwhelm the state of Alabama’s finances.

Partial exchange as follows:

MADDOX: There are 33 states that have gone along with the expansion of Medicaid. There are six more that are considering it.

MURPHY: You know how much the state budget for Medicaid is right now?

MADDOX: Not offhand —

MURPHY: It’s about a quarter, a quarter of the total budget. Twenty-four percent of the total budget is Medicare and that is expected to over the next decade go up to as much as 35 percent of the total state budget and I’m wondering how we stop that.

MADDOX: Well, the question certainly you got to go with efficiencies. But let me ask you this — do we let town after town die in Alabama to die on the hill of something that’s not going to change?

MURPHY: How are you correcting that if you’re doubling down on a system that’s not currently working that’s creating that dying dynamic that you’re discussing?

MADDOX Well that system, 33 states are invested in and you’re about to have six more. Alabama is going to continue to be left behind to die for a cause that doesn’t do the average Alabamian any good.

MURPHY: Those states are doubling down on a system that you agreed five minutes ago doesn’t work.

MADDOX: Hold on a second — so we shouldn’t invest in NASA? We shouldn’t invest in Redstone?

MURPHY: NASA works. Medicaid is not working, Walt. It’s not working.

MADDOX: No, that’s not necessarily true. And what you’re trying to tell me is there are only certain types of federal investment that we should ignore.

MURPHY: I’m telling you that we shouldn’t double down on systems that aren’t working. You agreed five minutes ago that wasn’t working.

After the two continued the debate further, Murphy asked Maddox on how he would finance the expansion, which Maddox pointed to gambling revenue.

“You take a combination of taxing the existing gambling that is here and sports gambling,” Maddox said. “And that will be what you put in your general fund as your offset to it.

 is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

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