The Save Ourselves (SOS) Coalition for Justice and Democracy continued its campaign for Medicaid Expansion with a rally today (May 21, 2019) at Noon on the steps of the State Capitol in Montgomery, Alabama.
John Zippert, Co-Chair of the SOS Health Committee declared, “ We came to the steps of the Alabama State House last Tuesday and said we would be back each Tuesday that the Alabama Legislature is in session until the Governor and the State Legislature approves Medicaid Expansion. We also agreed to link this critical health care issue to other important issues facing the people of Alabama, such as the fight to defeat Alabama’s new draconian law against women’s right to an abortion, inaction on prison reform and the suppression of voting rights.”
“SOS brought a “Citizens Arrest Petition for Governor Kay Ivey” to the Capitol steps and we attempted to serve it on her at the end of the rally, “ said Johnny Ford, former Mayor of Tuskegee and Co-Chair of the SOS Health Committee.
The Citizens arrest writ simply says that the people of Alabama condemn the actions of Governor Ivey in failing to Expand Medicaid, to save the lives of 500 or more Alabamians each year; in signing the bill making it a crime for women to have an abortion in Alabama, which will result in hundreds of additional deaths; and the failure to enact prison reforms, required by a government report of atrocities in Alabama’s prison system.Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act will provide health care coverage to 300,000 low-income working people in the State of Alabama. These people are caught in a payment gap where they make too much money to qualify for Medicaid ($4,600/year) and too little to qualify for subsidized health insurance on the ACA health insurance marketplace. The Federal government will be responsible for 90% of the cost of this health care with Alabama paying 10%.
Beyond the moral issue of failing to provide health care for all of its citizens, Alabama has lost more than $10 billion by not expanding Medicaid over the past decade that it was available. The state has also lost 30,000 good jobs in the medical field by not expanding Medicaid. The tax revenues from these new taxpayers would help to pay the 10% burden on the state of Alabama. The economic development impacts of expanding Medicaid would be shared in every county of the state.
Expanding Medicaid would help our financially troubled hospitals in Alabama, especially those in rural economically depressed areas, by providing a payer source for the working poor who need medical care the most.
Faya Rose Toure, SOS Steering Committee member said,
“SOS must join forces with other groups Alabama to fight for justice. The recently passed legislation, which Governor Ivey signed without hesitation, would criminalize abortion in the state. This will make it harder especially for younger poor women, Black and white, to have access to abortion. This law must be challenged and reversed. Why would you consider life so scared for the unborn and then deny life-saving healthcare to those same children and their parents for the rest of their lives.
“ We invite women who feel that their health care during pregnancy and beyond is being challenged by the Legislature and Governor Ivey to join with SOS in fighting for Medicaid Expansion and against draconian abortion restrictions, which do not include exceptions for rape and incest,” said Faya Rose Toure.
Rev. Kenneth Glasgow of Dothan, the SOS Justice Committee Co-Chair points out that the state’s failure to act on prison reform is linked to Medicaid Expansion. “The Legislature and Gov. Ivey have not acted on the Department of Justice report on devastating conditions in Alabama prisons, including the lack of medical care and services for the incarcerated. We must join together to fight for Medicaid Expansion, criminal justice reform, and abortion rights.”
“We will be back next Tuesday, May 28, 2019 to continue to push for Medicaid Expansion, “ said Johnny Ford.
SOS Coalition for Justice and Democracy is a coalition of forty social justice organizations in the state who are working to improve conditions for poor and people of color in the State of Alabama.
For more information contact: Shelley Fearson – SOS Office – 334/262-0932.