Op-Ed: Alabama hurts vulnerable citizens by refusing to expand Medicaid, imposing work requirements
This past month marked the 53rd anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid.
On July 30th, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation establishing the Medicare and Medicaid programs guaranteeing access to health care for America’s poor, elderly and disabled.
Instead of recognizing Medicaid’s role in helping lift Alabamians out of poverty, Alabama continues to hurt its most vulnerable citizens by refusing to expand Medicaid and imposing work requirements on Medicaid recipients.
Alabama is one of just 18 states that has refused to accept Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act which has left more than 191,000 Alabamians without health insurance. Then-Governor Robert Bentley defied Medicaid expansion as a conservative political grandstand and my mother and I were among the hundreds of thousands of Alabamians who suffered for it.
Our story is similar to the stories of many uninsured Alabamians. In 2014, my mom and I lost our health insurance when she had to leave her job at Wal-Mart after a long time of suffering from health problems. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes, which left her unable to work.