Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley Defies Federal Law, Refuses to Establish Healthcare Insurance Exchange for Citizens

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Governor Bentley is pulling a George Wallace stand-in-the-schoolhouse-door redux.

What an ignorant ass he is!

It’s exceedingly sad that he – as a physician – ordered Alabama’s 67 Counties Departments of Public Health to STOP giving Tuberculosis tests, thereby jeopardizing the public health of everyone who eats at a public restaurant, works in healthcare, and more – and was done as super-virulent, drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis are emerging. Gee, thanks, Governor Dr. Bentley. NOT!

Thanks for nothing, you jack-legged nincompoop!

By your defiant actions, Governor Bentley, you will FORCE the Federal Government to do something TOTALLY against your opinion – and that is, to establish a Health Insurance Exchange in Alabama.

You, Governor Bentley, are a lazy, sorry, idiotic jerk, in addition to being a liar, thief, incompetent boob, and contemptuous good-for-nothing.

Pejoratives aside, more than anything, this places the solitary onus of responsibility upon the governor and legislature to 1.) Increase education,; 2.) Increase employment; 3.) Increase Corporate Income Tax rates; and 4.) Increase Personal Income Tax rates on the wealthiest Alabamians who already pay a well-documented rate that is significantly lower than the impoverished.

By increasing educational attainment in Alabama, the governor will be demonstrating a high-quality, high-yield investment in the state’s most precious resource – people.

But the governor – bless him – is ignorant, and it is quite painfully obvious that he just doesn’t understand such simple concepts. He should understand them, however, because he has said previously, that he used the G.I. Bill to complete his medical training after his enlistment ended.

In stark contrast, Tennessee’s Republican governor, Bill Haslam said, “I’ve always said from the very beginning that anything we [Tennessee] can run instead of the federal government, we are going to run it better and cheaper,” The simpler thing to do is to say, ‘Here, it’s your idea, you run it,’ but I’m not convinced yet that that’s what’s best for our citizens. There’s going to be an exchange and ultimately, our citizens — through their insurance companies — are going to pay for the costs of running that exchange. So who do we think can run it cheaper: us or the federal government? I’ll bet on us every time. But we have to be convinced that the flexibility they will give us is worth taking the risk of running it ourselves.”

For the benefit of the reader who may be unaware of what an Insurance Exchange is, the exchange is designed to allow uninsured people to compare and buy health insurance plans through a single Internet portal. Those who earn up to four times the federally designated poverty level will receive subsidies to pay for the coverage.

Essentially, it’s an Internet-based non-business (nobody is making any money), that creates a database of health insurance carriers that all adhere to certain guidelines for efficiency and coverage. The law allows states to join together to run multi-state exchanges – essentially, insurance across state lines – or to exclude themselves.

In essence, make a list of companies that sell health insurance in the state, make a comparison of their plans and prices, and provide a link to the company for folks to buy insurance from whatever company they want.

Not too difficult to figure out, eh?

Here’s a link to an informative flyer from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation about what Health Insurance Exchanges are, and what they do.

You may also be interested in reading the informative site http://healthreform.kff.org.


Gov. Bentley says Alabama won’t set up exchange, expand Medicaid

By Kim Chandler | kchandler@al.com
on November 13, 2012 at 1:38 PM, updated November 13, 2012 at 5:19 PM

Bentley, in a show of continued resistance to the Affordable Care Act,  said this afternoon that he will not set up a state health care exchange and he will not expand Medicaid under the federal healthcare overhaul.

Alabama Governor Bentley speaks at luncheon

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley speaks at the Birmingham Business Alliance 2012 Governor’s Luncheon in Birmingham, Ala., Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. (Tamika Moore | tmoore@al.com) / Tuesday, November 13, 2012 1:17 PM

“I will not set up a state exchange in Alabama,” Bentley said during a speech to the Birmingham Business Alliance.

States have a Friday deadline to inform the  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  if they plan to set up a state-run exchange, essentially a marketplace for people and businesses to shop for insurance. If states don’t set up their own exchange, either alone or in federal partnership, then the federal government will step in and design it.

Bentley said he has been in communication with other governors  — including peers in Texas, Florida and Louisiana — about the exchange decision.  He expected multiple governors to show a united front of resistance to the Affordable Care Act.

“If we stand together, I do believe Congress is going to have to look at this again,”Bentley said.

Bentley said he expected other governors to announce similar decisions.

“That will send a clear signal to all of our elected leaders in Washington that the health care bill should be changed,” Bentley said.

Bentley questioned the constitutionality of the the federal government stepping in and setting up essentially a state agency through a federally designed exchange.  Oklahoma has filed a lawsuit alleging that it is unlawful for the federal government to establish an exchange within a state, Bentley noted.

“We believe the federally facilitated system they will try to set up, we believe that is unconstitutional,” Bentley said.

Bentley said a state study commission had estimated previously that a state exchange would cost up to $50 million annually to operate. He said the state cannot afford that. The commission estimated that the cost to operate an exchange in 2015 would range between $34 million and $49.6 million.

The exchanges — whether run by the state or the federal government —  are supposed to be in place by 2014.

Bentley said he will also refuse to expand Medicaid as it currently exists under the Affordable Care Act. The expansion would have been paid for almost entirely by the federal government, but Bentley questioned the long-term cost to both the state and nation.

“I will not expand Medicaid as it exists under the current structure because it is broken,” Bentley said.”We just can not afford it. The people of America can not afford it.”

Bentley, who is a doctor,  said his decision to resist the Affordable Care Act was based on a difference of philosophy, not politics.

“It is, in my opinion, truly the worst piece of legislation that has ever been passed in my lifetime,” Bentley said of the ACA.

Senate Minority Leader, Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, criticized the governor’s decision on both the exchange and Medicaid expansion.

“It’s a total shame. It’s a complete failure of leadership by the Republican supermajority. What this means is Washington will run Alabama’s healthcare system not Alabama,” Bedford said.

Bedford said the state should also grab an opportunity to expand Medicaid with the federal government picking up most of the tab.

“There are 350,000 people that could get preventive care rather then showing up in an emergency room,” Bedford said.

Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, said he applauded Bentley’s “principled stand against Obamacare.” Hubbard said implementing the Affordable Care Act would bloat government and put Alabama on a path to “fiscal disaster.”

“The governor is in discussions with roughly two dozen of his counterparts in other states to coalesce against Obamacare and push back against its mandates. It’s my hope that this coalition can send a wake-up call to Washington and reverse the dangerous trend of liberal policies and directives that Obama and Congressional Democrats are pushing so hard to implement,” Hubbard said.

An advocacy group for low-income families expressed disappointment in Bentley’s decisions.

“We’re disappointed that the governor would close these doors for now. We think Alabamians deserve as good a deal from healthcare reform as folks in other states are getting, ” Jim Carnes, communications director for Arise Citizens’ Policy Project.

In Alabama about 351,000 people, including 244,804 previously uninsured,  would  join Medicaid under an expansion, according to 2010 estimates from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

The suggested expansion would open Medicaid to adults younger than 65 with an income of less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which would be $14,856 for individuals and $30,657 for a family of four. The federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost of services for new enrollees for the first three years, but that eventually would drop to 90 percent.

“This offers us the opportunity to get hundreds of thousands who have no healthcare into preventive care. These are working people. They work in industries we all utilize every day — restaurants, construction,” Carnes said.

Bentley said people had assumed that after the election, the ACA could not be stopped.

“They’re wrong,” Bentley said.

He said the two key portions of the law are the Medicaid expansion and the exchanges.

“If we have a large enough number of states who refuse to do it, it is going to be very difficult for them,” Bentley said.


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