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State Sen. Ward to Medicaid expansion proponents: Where do you get $168 million to pay for it? — Won’t solve coronavirus issue

In recent days with the presence of the threat of COVID-19 in our lives, Medicaid expansion advocates have doubled down on their efforts to encourage policymakers in Alabama to adopt their position on the issue.

Estimates range from $150 million and upwards for the initial expansion of Medicaid rolls in the state. Proponents have offered very little guidance in their approach to funding those costs, according to State Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster).

During an appearance on Huntsville radio’s WVNN, Ward warned against assuming Medicaid expansion was a cure-all for Alabama’s health care woes, including coronavirus.

“It kind of reminds me of the old days when everybody said — remember we wanted to legalize electronic bingo and this was way back in the late 90s — remember every time a crisis came up, and they said, ‘If we just legalize this, it will be OK,'” Ward explained. “The next crisis came up, and they said, ‘If we just do this, we’ll be OK.’ Medicaid expansion — does it provide benefits? Sure, it provides benefits. But you’ve got to pay for it. The first year, to pay for a Medicaid expansion, requires an additional $168 million out of the general fund budget, estimated. Where do you get that money? Still, to this day, no one can tell me where.”

“And I will say this: While I respect the folks who want Medicaid expansion, Medicaid expansion is not going to solve the corona[virus] issue,” he continued. “I don’t care what you say. You can compare states that have Medicaid expansion and those that don’t — and it’s not a factor in dealing with corona. I think corona is an excuse for a lot of folks to say, ‘Man, if we could just expand, everything would be OK.’ I think that’s a false idea.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.

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