Gubernatorial candidate: Medicaid will fix economy

Published 12:29 am Saturday, October 25, 2014

Parker Griffith believes that expanding Medicaid would fix much of what ails Alabama’s economy.

The Democratic nominee for governor, a former state senator and U.S. Representative, said Alabama’s suffering in the area of economic development, which is boosting state poverty rates. Better medical care, he said, could be the impetus to change that.

Like the man he is challenging, Gov. Robert Bentley, Griffith is a physician. The radiation oncologist has maintained his medical license since 1975 and founded the Huntsville Cancer Treatment Center.

“Our unemployment rate is one of highest in nation, despite what my opponent says,” Griffith said.

The poverty level will not be helped much by the economic announcements by Remington and a copper tubing plant.

“We have automobile plants that are hiring now through temporary agencies, paying $10, $11, $12 an hour with no benefits,” he said. “We have families trying to make it on $8, $9, $10 an hour, living in poverty.

“Many counties continue to be in a recession, with double digit unemployment rates,” Griffith said.

“We are the 49th most unhealthy state;

we have a high infant mortality rate; and our education level neck and neck with Mississippi,” he said. “Employers, businesses, look at the state, and they’d prefer to be in a state that is focusing on education and health.”


The expansion of Medicaid would create jobs, and help those who are working for minimum wage and are unable to afford health insurance have access to health care, he said.

“Expanding Medicaid would infuse $1.4 billion into the economy,” Griffith said. “It would increase our gross domestic product by 4 to 5 percent. That would be a huge economic boost. “

It also would mean 30,000 jobs over a six-year period, he said, adding that is would keep rural hospitals from closing.

“Every bed means three jobs,” he said.

Bentley has opposed the expansion of Medicaid, because in the long-term, it puts more pressure on the state’s General Fund budget.

Griffith also said he would give Alabamians an opportunity to vote on an education lottery that would give Alabamians an opportunity for free post-secondary educational or training.

He also said he thinks Republicans and Democrats can work together to find solutions for the state.

Griffith said Bentley refuses to debate him, and there is no debate in the Alabama legislature.

“The outcry from the press has remained silent,” he said. “The state’s press has been decimated and diluted,” he said.

“People came in here, bought up papers years ago and crashed them,” he said, referring to Alabama Media Group’s decision to publish The Huntsville Times, The Birmingham News, and The Mobile Press-Register only three days per week.

“It is an interesting time for Alabama,” he said. “We can either retreat back to plantation mentality of minimum wages, or move forward.”