Some of us in our comfortable homes, with our nice cars, and our balanced household budgets may not know it, but thousands of people in Alabama are poor and needy. Thousands don’t have health insurance; therefore, many will suffer, and some will die.
Their suffering can be helped. The U.S. Government has recognized their needs and made large sums of money available for them through a real sweetheart of a deal. Alabama can get $1.5 billion each year for 2014, 2015, and 2016 without paying anything. Starting in 2016, the state would only pay 10 percent. The money is available to help over 300,000 needy women and children through the expansion of the Alabama Medicaid Program, which will be funded by the Affordable Care Act.
The money will aid and assist all 67 Alabama counties and it will create jobs. It is estimated that Georgia, with a cooperating governor, could gain 70,000 jobs and Alabama at least 35,000. That would be the greatest job increase in the history of the State of Alabama.
This money is for our use, but we have a problem. Robert Bentley is blocking it from coming to Alabama. We might ask why a governor of a poor state like Alabama would block such aid and assistance. It may be because he is a Republican and cares very little about the poor and needy. It may be because he dislikes President Obama and wants to do everything he can to make the president and his programs look bad, regardless of how much it may hurt his own people. It may be because he wants to be re-elected and believes there are enough uncaring Republicans and Tea Partiers to elect him if he stands in the State House door and refuses to let aid come in. We don’t really know his reason, but we hope and pray for the sake of the poor that he will change his mind.
We would say to him have a heart, love the people of Alabama, not just the rich and powerful, but the poor and needy as well. As a physician, you took an oath, the essence of which admonishes a physician to do no harm. You will do great harm to thousands of people if you continue to block these funds. Remember the words of the Great Physician Jesus Christ, who said, “Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”
Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.peopleforthechristianway.com