Gubernatorial Candidate Parker Griffith Wants Medicaid Expansion

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A Republican with a lot of power in Montgomery has made an 'about face' on Medicaid.

Representative Steve Clouse now favors the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Clouse was known to support Governor Robert Bentley in opposition of the expansion.

Parker Griffith, who's running for governor, talked with WHNT News 19 about Clouse's new way of thinking.

Griffith wants to be Alabama's 54th governor.

"Because I`ve always spent my career taking care of people. I see the need,” said Griffith.

Griffith, a medical doctor, is running on a plan to reform, retool and expand Medicaid in Alabama.

The former Congressman believes no one needs Washington, DC.

“It's a paralyzed backwater in Washington, DC. Our congress people can't help us. They're polarized fighting amongst themselves. Our executive branch can't help us,” added Griffith.

The former Democrat, turned Republican, turned Independent, and now once again Democrat says he supports expanding Medicaid in Alabama.

Governor Bentley and most state Republicans are against it.

“He has refused to even think about expanding Medicaid.  Steve Clouse, Chair of the Ways & Means Committee, has broken from Bentley and said it has to happen,” said Griffith.

Griffith believes Clouse is looking at Medicaid from an economic standpoint and understands the state needs to expand the program.

'”I know that too. I also know, as we delay expanding Medicaid, we are costing lives in Alabama. We are not seeing people early who have early,” added Griffith.

Griffith, who faces one other person in the democratic race for governor, stresses expanding the program could help fight cancer, diabetes, strokes and other sufferings.

He has a message from one doctor to another.

“He's got a MD behind his name. I want Governor Bentley, to say tomorrow, we're going to expand Medicaid. I want him to say that. I want us to do it here in Alabama. Regardless of the politics, we've got lives to saves,” added Griffith.

WHNT News 19 reached out to Rep. Clouse and Griffith's opponent, Kevin Bass, for a comment.

Parker Griffith’s plan to pay third-party insurers to run an expanded Medicaid program in Alabama would waste Medicaid funds that otherwise could be – and should be – used for medical care and could subject them to fees that would discourage them from seeking care, charges Kevin Bass, Democratic candidate for governor.

Bass emailed a response on Monday:

“Democrats have challenged Gov. Bentley’s unacceptable refusal to expand Medicaid,” Bass says. “But instead of trying to maximize the funding available to our citizens, Griffith wants to let private insurers line their own pockets by spending as little as they can get away with.”

We've not heard back from Rep. Clouse.


    • JA

      I remember hearing that same thing right before Obama was elected a second time. I’m sure after 40+ attempts to stop it, “your kind” will get your way, eventually, right? 50th time’s the charm.

  • Rise Up

    The “Dem-Wit” Libs WILL take a merciless beating in November. Libs are low-life country destroyers and will be dealt with accordingly.!!

      • TruthLivesHere

        It would depend on which Republicans get voted in. We’re no better off if a bunch of RINO’s get elected / re-elected.

  • Nuclear Mike

    Dear Parker…you just need to go away…as you are no longer significant from all your rants & raves coupled with your party switching antics…

  • Steve Fuller

    No one cares what Parker wants. I’m not really sure if he really knows what he wants. The high powered democrats in this state have found themselves a great scapegoat in this man

  • Me

    “I see the need”. Yeah I see the need for people to get off their butts and get to working. How about we all take care of ourselves and see how the economy changes.

    • Say What

      Jan, according the self identified “conservatives” and “libertarians” (Tea Party) on this forum, Jesus would have turned away anyone that could not prove employment or prove they are seeking employment. According to them, Jesus would have turned away anyone that could not prove they are an American citizen.

      My reading of the Bible is that Jesus calls on us to love and support all his children — no matter who they are. But, hey, I am just a silly liberal!

      • Me

        I don’t see what this article really has to do with religious beliefs. Since you obviously believe that we should just give anyone who “needs” help some handouts how about you pay for them. It’s not fair for every tax paying citizen to pay for people who can help themselves simply because liberal government officials tell them to. I would be willing to bet that given the option, you would opt to decrease your taxes regardless of where that money would be going. Let’s be honest here…

      • Say What

        it is not me that believes that, it is what God calls Christians to do. If you call yourself a Christian, it is you that has to explain why you are ignoring God’s word concerning the poor and sick. The liberals that you denounce support programs that seem more Christian than conservatives do! It does not seem to very Christian to be more concerned with how much tax money you have to pay and less on the needs of God’s people!

        Did Jesus ask for proof of employment when he fed the masses? Did he ask for proof of citizenship when he offered to heal the sick and deformed?

        In Matthew 25:31-46 the final judgement is described:

        31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

        41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

        Me, you are correct — let’s be honest here!

      • JA

        From what I’ve seen, conservatives more frequently tout their Christian beliefs in their political campaigns and decisions. You’re right that religion shouldn’t play a role in politics, yet the conservatives often seem to forget that.

        As the last commenter said, those that proclaim Christianity so loudly seem to be more talk than action compared to the other side…

  • Me

    Wake up, say what, or whatever you will name yourself tomorrow…I am quite honestly more concerned about 1 the success of my family including our financial stability, and 2 the economy of my country than about one single aspect of Christianity. Am I a believer, absolutely. That does not however mean that I must follow every word. Coming from a liberal who is pro abortion I am sure, I wouldn’t be trying to disprove whether someone is or isn’t following the bible. I would say that lessening the amount or welfare (especially since most welfare is given to those who do not need it) is way more productive than killing innocent children. Just because your people cannot stay in power without the votes of those abusing the welfare system doesn’t make it a positive thing.

    • JA

      “I’m definitely a believer, just not about all of it. I pick and choose which parts will benefit me and my family the most, and ignore the others. It is God’s word, after all!”

      “Let me throw in a bit about abortion, which has nothing to do with the topic at hand, but it makes me feel better about not following the book I force on everyone else.”

      Maybe he/she is pro-abortion. She doesn’t state either way. You are just making unfounded assumptions. For the sake of argument, let’s say she is. Maybe that’s the one part of the bible she chooses not to follow (does the bible discuss abortion?). I mean, you can pick and choose what you want to believe, right? Certainly, unwanted children, or children that can’t be adequately supported by their parents, are certainly a burden on tax-payers through that horrible welfare system and supporting the children until they’re adopted. That would put an unfair burden on you, your family, and the country!

      “especially since most welfare is given to those who do not need it”

      I didn’t know you were so close to the large population that depend on welfare. Please, show me a source of this vast knowledge.

      “Just because your people cannot stay in power without the votes of those abusing the welfare system doesn’t make it a positive thing.”

      Weird how god didn’t help your side win the last election. I’m sure the evil prevailed (wait, but god is the most powerful…), or maybe it’s the gays, or he works in mysterious ways? Ahhhh, forget it….just have faith — in all the parts except the ones you choose not to follow out of selfishness and greed!

    • JA

      As the guy above admitted, he ignores the Christian values that don’t benefit him or his family. The ones he can use to limit the freedom of others, he wholly supports. That’s what Jesus did — made decisions that benefited him and his family, and made sure not to sacrifice anything for everyone else.


      • Me

        How does any of this limit the rights of others. Sorry if you feel that anyone who wants it should be given government money while the rest of us work for our things. It’s not about limiting anything for anyone. I have worked for everything I have, as has most of America. If you want to make the handouts even more abundant that’s fine, I just do not think that I should be responsible for that extra expense. Just like I do not think that I should be required to pay a tax that goes towards ridiculous programs such as planned parenthood. If your fine with that then great, but everyone is untitled to their opinions.

      • JA

        You seem to enjoy making fallacious assumptions, like “most people on welfare don’t need it” and “you think everyone that wants government money should get it.”

        The limited rights was pointing out how you will choose to ignore the very big topic in the bible about making sacrifices and helping the poor and sick, but wholly deny the rights of others that choose to have an abortion or marry their same-sex partner — both of which are barely discussed.

        If you believe “most people” with welfare don’t need it, then that would be a problem with the welfare system that needs to be fixed. Although I completely disagree that “most people” don’t need it, the fact is that in either case, some people really do need it.

        People hit hard times. I guess I’m crazy, but I would rather pay a portion of my taxes to helping people that need welfare to feed themselves or their children, instead of that money going to things like the Iraq war.

        Just blows my mind how the majority of people that want to deny healthcare or food to the sick and starving, while standing firmly behind getting involved in more wars, also claim to be Christian.

      • JA

        You oppose caring for the sick with government subsidized healthcare and oppose feeding the hungry with welfare, because it doesn’t directly benefit you. You claim to be Christian and that you follow a guy that spent his life making sacrifices for the poor and sick, but think it’s OK to disregard those portions because — well you don’t want to have to do it. I’m betting you support spending trillions on wars, though. Just don’t spend that money on our own people.


        Although I completely disagree that “most” people that have welfare don’t need it, I will agree that some don’t need it. It’s a problem with how people are approved for it, and not a reason to completely dismantle the system.

        “Christian” my butt.

  • Me

    So say we take the label Christian out since you aren’t so let’s assume we are just two people void of beliefs. Why should I have to support people who don’t want to help themselves. This leads to generations of children who belief and are taught that it’s okay to live in housing projects, receive food stamps, get free cell phones and in return all they have to do is stay unemployed. I agree that some people truly need these services, however I do not think that anyone who is not disabled should receive this. It has become a burden to work almost unless you have a college degree. Many people working with simply a high school diploma make less money than they would receive from handouts. I find that disgusting. I do appreciate that you acknowledged that many people abuse the system. That’s much more than most liberals will admit to.

    • JA

      Still with the assumptions… I can already tell where you get your “most don’t need it” figure above — from the deep, dark recesses of your rear.

      What makes you think I’m not Christian? I am the one that supports feeding the hungry and healing the sick. I guess it’s safe for me to assume you aren’t? What makes you think I’m liberal? I don’t ascribe myself to any particular party.

      You shouldn’t have to support people that make no attempt to get themselves out of their situation, nor should I. But people who truly need it shouldn’t have to suffer either. The solution is to close whatever loopholes allow people to wrongfully get the benefits.

      I think you may be jaded living in this area, because there are a lot of places around the country that simply do not have enough jobs for the population. I always hear, “just get a job!” yet people don’t seem to realize that’s not an option everywhere to everyone. They should, however, be able to eat.

      Unfortunately, a little known fact: The “free phone” program was started by Reagan in 1984, and extended to cellphones by Bush in 2008.

      Yeah, people with degrees working for minimum wage. I know a lot of those people that will be paying off tens of thousands in debt for years to come.

      I wonder your stance on increasing the minimum wage. Surely you support it, since it would bring many employees out from under the poverty line, which would disallow them from receiving handouts, and would be an incentive to those you believe choose to sit at home instead of working.

      • Me

        I actually just assumed you were wake up with yet another name, if that is untrue I am sorry. The root question still stands however, why is it my responsibility to support those who are “in need”? I agree that many people truly need help, the extent of these people however differ from your opinion, that’s okay though. I honestly am just wondering why it is believed by the government that they are everyone else’s responsibility. If you have an answer for that it would be greatly appreciated.

      • JA

        Not wake up nor do I know who that is.

        I suppose the difference between you and I is that I don’t look at it like I’m being made responsible for it, I look at it like a small portion (very small, compared to defense) is going to feeding or housing a family that may be struggling. If I ever lose my job, suffer a debilitating injury, hit hard times, that I have a safety net to keep me fed until things turn around. I’ve never used one of the social programs, however I know people that have and honestly needed it. They got back on their feet and are doing just fine.

        I understand some are OK with not contributing a cent to a system that has helped millions, because they live under this false notion that “most people don’t need it.” They know each and every unique situation of everyone around the country, and can say “if that child starves to death, it’s OK, their parents didn’t *need* that money.”

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