Letter to Editor – published, Anniston Star, May 1, 2021
Alabama must expand Medicaid now. Expansion is the fiscally and humanitarian right thing to do.
At least $740 million in federal incentives are available. Amounts guaranteed for two years would create enough savings on existing Medicaid enrolment to pay the added cost of the whole program for at least a couple more years. Expanding Medicaid would save Alabama money in uncompensated care, corrections, and mental health care. It would produce more tax revenue from the new insurance plans.
More than 300,000 Alabamians would also gain health coverage. Most are working people without an employer’s plan and making too little for an insurance subsidy. Expansion would also sustain our struggling, rural healthcare facilities. These protect people with insurance but who would have to travel long distances if rural facilities close.
The combined impact of savings, healthier people and workforce, good jobs created, and related economic activity make Medicaid expansion Alabama’s greatest economic development opportunity in a long time. Gains aren’t hypothetical. Studies of Medicaid expansion’s fiscal impact in states that already expanded consistently show major savings and revenue increases. Now, with hundreds of millions of dollars and many lives on the line, it’s an opportunity we can’t afford to ignore.
Jim Williams, Anniston, AL
Community volunteer and activist