Medicaid expansion critical for the future growth of our state (Your view)

Submitted to in the Letters from our Readers section on June 12, 2013 at 10:31 AM, updated June 12, 2013 at 11:03 AM

In his recent op-ed, Dr. Allen Perkins of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine makes a strong case for moving ahead with the Medicaid expansion included in the new health care law.

He notes that expansion would infuse and estimated $12 billion over six years into the state, carrying with it broader health coverage and thousands of new jobs. He highlights several scenarios in which a Medicaid expansion would make sense, but the one that hit home for me was the possibility of a potential industrial recruiter bypassing Alabama for another state because that state chose to expand its Medicaid program. He undscores what we all know, that a strong health care system is crucial in attracting new industries. Businesses need healthy, productive workers, and with Alabama's limited Medicaid eligibility we find that many of our working poor lack health care coverage.

The federal government will pick up the tab for 100 percent of the additional coverage the first three years, with a gradual drop to 90 percent going forward. Even if the state has to cover 10 percent of the costs in the future, we would still receive a 90-percent return on our investment, and I believe the additional economic activity in terms of jobs and taxes paid would easily offset the expense.

So regardless of our political persuasion, or our thoughts about the health care law overall, I believe it's critical for the economic growth of our state that we take advantage of the federal dollars to expand Medicaid.

John White-Spunner
President/CEO, White-Spunner Construction, Inc.

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