Groups gathered in several cities in Alabama, including Montgomery, to push for Medicaid expansion. It is not a new issue...Alabama is one of a dozen states that have refused to expand the program that provides health care for the poor.
The small but enthusiastic Montgomery group met at the Unitarian Church at sunset, lighting candles and singing hymns.
Some 314 thousand people would gain health insurance if Governor Ivey and the legislature agreed to the expansion.
The Governor has said repeatedly the state does not have funding to provide the expansion, although the original offer from the Federal Government paid for most of it.
By saying no, Alabama effectively rejected almost $5-Billion in funding.
The www.healthinsurance.org website supports expansion, and reports on the benefits the state would receive by doing so:
"To qualify for federal Medicaid funding, states are required to cover low-income children, pregnant women, parents of minor children, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Coverage for additional groups is optional, with the state receiving additional funding for the groups it elect to include in its program.
The federal government sets baseline eligibility levels, which states can adjust upwards. The income limits vary widely by category and by state.
Alabama’s current Medicaid eligibility criteria are more limited than many other states. The state’s program covers:
- Children up to 146% of the federal poverty level (FPL); children up to 312% of FPL qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
- Pregnant women up to 146% of FPL
- Parents and caretaker relatives up to 18% of FPL
- Elderly and disabled individuals with certain medical conditions and income levels.
Childless adults in Alabama are not eligible for Medicaid."
Here is a map of the states that have, and have not expanded Mediciad: