Democratic leader says Pro Tem ‘dissed’ her over health care resolution

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Senate Minority Leader Vivian Davis Figures criticized the Republican leader in the Senate for disrespecting her on Thursday for recessing without allowing her to discuss a resolution she introduced arguing why Alabama should expand Medicaid.

Senate Minority Leader Vivian Davis Figures, D-Mobile, at a school safety hearing on Jan. 9, 2013. (Montgomery Advertiser, Amanda Sowards)

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, moved to send the resolution to the Rules Committee, which determines which bills come to the floor for debate, and moved to adjourn for about an hour.

“I expected more from you,” Figures told Marsh.

Senate Democrats have stated they have one priority this legislative session – expanding Medicaid. They are pushing Gov. Robert Bentley to agree to expand the program and, citing a study from the University of Alabama Birmingham, said the expansion could create $20 billion in economic development over six years, create $1 billion in tax revenue, and add about 300,000 new people to the program. Figures’ resolution including those figures and she said people in the state should know the information.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston

“We’re trying to do everything we can to impress upon the governor to expand Medicaid in Alabama,” said Figures, D-Mobile.

Figures pointed out that other states including Florida have decided to agree to the expansion.

The Democratic leader said she expected the resolution to be sent to the Rules Committee, but said she should have been allowed to speak to it.

“If we have a healthier Alabama, we have a more productive Alabama,” Figures said.

Bentley has said Medicaid is broken in Alabama and that it does not make sense to expand a broken program.

– posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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