|Gov. Bentley’s campaign speech|
|Written by News Desk|
|Friday, 24 January 2014 11:24|
Last week Governor Bentley delivered the State of the State address. I watched on television and later read a printed transcript of his speech. The governor said nothing about our prison problems in Alabama. Nothing. We are on the brink of federal courts taking over our state prisons and he ignored it.
Yet the Governor said tons about what his administration has accomplished in the last four years. In fact it was a very good campaign speech.
But I couldn't help but notice in the Governor's campaign speech that he took dead aim at an opponent that he is not facing in the election-the federal government. The printed transcript of his speech was fourteen pages in length. In the first seven pages Bentley did nothing but mention his accomplishments. The last seven pages he railed against the federal government for the most part.
There's no problem with me when it comes to bashing the federal government. Washington deserves all of the tongue lashing it gets. But, I think the Governor carried it too far. While he avoided talking about our prisons he went on the attack regarding the Medicaid expansion that is part of the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
I for one am not a fan of our president or Obamacare and I certainly didn't vote for the man. I have always been against socialized medicine. Yet, Obamacare is the law of the land today, right now, and that is what we must deal with.
Back to Bentley. The Medicaid expansion would be funded by the Feds for the first three years and then the Feds will fund 90% of it the next seven years. After that, it seems to be up in the air. The big hoopla for months has been "do we take the money or not?" Bentley says we will not and in his speech said the following, "The money the federal government is spending with wild abandon is not federal dollars - those are your dollars, your hard-earned tax dollars. There is no difference between Federal money and your money."
Governor, I agree. Washington spends too much of my money. But since you are talking about the federal dollars to pay for Medicaid...isn't that my money, too? It is. Since it is my money why would I not want to get it back? I have to ask, why do I want to be so stubborn and say no to Obama and let the others states get MY MONEY? Why should I give my money to pay for health care for poor people and children in New York...money that helps their economy?
Bentley also said, "Business and job growth is being stifled. Employers are leaving positions unfilled, or laying off workers so they can fall under the employee threshold that would require them to participate in Obamacare and Medicaid Expansion, or face penalties." Then he said, "Nearly one million people in Alabama are on Medicaid. It is not my goal to put more people on Medicaid but to have less. It is not my intent to put able-bodied individuals on a government dependency program."
So Governor, what will the people who lose health insurance do once the businesses terminate them or cease to provide health insurance? I bet the Medicaid roles will increase then, and my question becomes, how will we pay for that? It sure will be difficult paying for prison reform, imposed by the Feds, when we have more people on Medicaid roles without the other Fed money coming in, or rather, our money coming back to us.
Am I in favor of government involvement in healthcare? No. I wish Obama and Obamacare would go away because I pretty much hate to see any government get involved in anything. But our problems are not going to be solved without an objective attempt to find solutions. Blaming Obama for everything may get you votes in Alabama but that doesn't mean it solves problems.
Governor, I ask that you find solutions for Medicaid that are backed by something other than partisan political rhetoric. And even though you can't blame the prison problems on Obama let's talk about solutions for that too...instead of ignoring it.
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Photo (L-R) Board Chairman Larry Teel, Superintendent Andre' Harrison, Representative Mike Holmes, Vice Chairman Michael Morgan
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