Not quite two years into his term, Bentley has made his opposition to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act a centerpiece of his administration. Three words: He despises it. He’s called it the “single worst piece of legislation that’s been passed in my lifetime” — he previously deemed it the worst “of all time” — and he’s sticking to that premise.
Never mind that his refusal to create a state-operated health insurance exchange — which he previously endorsed — means he’s shunning the opportunity to create a state-centric program that would help thousands of uninsured Alabamians. If the state doesn’t act, the federal government will step in and do it for them.
Never mind that the Bentley-led state government is choosing politics over people.
He is Alabama’s protector-in-chief.
Tuesday morning, the Fox News audience witnessed Bentley’s anti-Obamacare viewpoints first-hand. The governor appeared on the right-leaning cable news channel and was asked several specific questions about the health-care law and his staunch opposition to it.
A few highlights:
n Bentley said he wants improved access to health care — which is splendid, considering Alabama’s high rates of obesity, diabetes and heart ailments. But, he said, “as a physician, I’ve felt this is not the way we need to go in this country.”
n When asked if he still believes the law is the worst piece of legislation passed in his lifetime, he said yes. He didn’t hesitate. “It is an unworkable law.”
n Additionally, he doesn’t believe the federal government “will be able to come in and set up federally facilitated exchanges … It is not a foregone conclusion that this law that has been passed will be implemented.”
n What’s more, “We just don’t believe that it’s constitutional.”
He’s like elevator Muzak. His droning on about small government and the Affordable Care Act hasn’t changed.
Only now, thanks to a quick segment on Fox News’ morning show, a larger segment of Americans have seen Alabama’s protector-in-chief in full anti-Obamacare mode. How fortunate we are. Bentley remains a firm member of a sizeable group of Republican governors who are stomping their feet and refusing to take advantage of the ACA’s worthwhile benefits.
It’s a stance that casts the governor — and the state — in an unbecoming light of opposition to progress. Here at home, that’s been evident for months.