“I am concerned about the plight of the working poor ... If doctors are not paid for seeing those patients, doctors will not go to rural Alabama because you can’t expect a doctor to go to rural Alabama and lose money,” Bentley said.
Bentley’s remarks come just over a week after Republican Matt Bevin won the Kentucky governor’s race by running against Obamacare. Bevin’s victory raised questions about the future of the Medicaid expansion in Kentucky, one of the only Southern states to embrace the program.
But the program has been a big success in expanding insurance coverage to low-income Kentuckians, and Alabama residents would similarly benefit: The University of Alabama at Birmingham estimated that as many as 300,000 people would gain coverage under the Medicaid expansion. The bottom line is that the Republican-controlled states in the Deep South that have resisted Obamacare so strongly also have the most to benefit from the law, given their high poverty rates. Alabama finally seems to be waking up to that reality—and Louisiana is, too.