Watch this short video with an exchange between watchdog reporter Glynn Wilson and state Senator Trip Pittman –
The Big Picture –
By Glynn Wilson –
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — This is an open letter to Alabama’s Republican Governor Robert Bentley asking him to please fully fund Medicaid.
Dear Governor Bentley:
I know times are tough.
After six years in office, you have still not been able to bring the state to full employment so you can collect a pay check.
The bloggers are trying to hound you out of office by saying crazy things about you.
They claim you had sex with an adviser who was not even on the government payroll. She was not taking state tax dollars either.
One of Louisiana’s infamous governors, Edwin Edwards, once said: ”The only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.”
But the standards are even tougher in Alabama. You have to be a god-fearing Christian, and you have to wear that on your sleeve. You’ve done that, to the nines.
You have to wake up every day and go to work fighting President Barack Obama, our first African-American president. You have passed that test.
You turned down more than $3 billion in federal money for health care that might have employed enough people to get you that pay check.
You toed the tea party line, but still they seem to hate you. The tea party bloggers have turned on you, as well as the bloggers who work for corporations that used to pass for mainstream news in this state.
You are pilloried on Facebook and Twitter as if you were a common criminal.
But a few Republicans and even a few black Democrats seem willing to come to your aid by fighting off a petition for impeachment in the Legislature. Maybe there is hope for you.
The way I see it, you have one chance to save yourself. You own a television station, Alabama Public Television, and a radio station, Alabama Public Radio. Use them.
Deliver a major address to the state and tell the people directly, once again, that you are sorry for your inappropriate remarks to Ms. Rebekah Mason that was apparently recorded by your ex-wife and used to divorce you. Maybe this was just an embarrassing bit of juvenile “sexting,” something that seems to be going around these days with smart phones and the internet and all.
Then, show some class and change course. I mean, George Wallace changed course in 1974. He renounced racism and crowned and kissed the first black homecoming queen at the University of Alabama.
Here is your chance. Announce that you were wrong to turn down the Obamacare money and that you are going to push to take the money and fully fund Medicaid, thereby saving thousands of lives.
Be a leader, for god’s sake. Look them in the eye. Tell them it is the right thing to do. I mean you are, or were, a doctor.
This may be your only chance to leave something of a positive legacy for people to remember you by. Otherwise, you will go down in history as just another joke of a politician who accidentally got elected governor of Alabama, like Guy Hunt and Fob James.
Here are some points you could make in your speech.
When you were certified as a medical professional, you took the Hippocratic Oath.
While it is a popular misconception that the Latin phrase Primum non nocere (First do no harm) is actually in the text of the oath, it does contain the statement: “Also I will, according to my ability and judgment, prescribe a regimen for the health of the sick; but I will utterly reject harm and mischief.”
Prescribing no health insurance for the sick, the old, young children and the poor would certainly seem to be a violation of your oath as a doctor. Playing politics with people’s lives would certainly constitute harm and mischief.
Then there are the Ten Commandments themselves.
Even if you didn’t actually violate the Seventh Commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” you have already violated the sixth: “Thou shalt not kill.”
According to my reporting, you have already doomed to die at least 3,669 people over the past three years. That’s 1,223 a year.
And you are about to kill even more, with the help of Republican Senators like Trip Pittman of Fairhope, who now presides over what amounts to a Republican Death Panel with the government itself deciding who lives and dies.
I believe this would also violate the Hippocratic Oath, the line that says: “Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. Above all, I must not play at God.”
You are now in the unfortunate position of playing god by deciding what parts of Medicaid will have to be cut if y’all can’t come up with the $85 million shortfall in the Medicaid budget.
I mean you are willing to spend $85 million, even if you can’t use the BP money, to build a new hotel and convention center in Gulf Shores. But you can’t come up with $85 million to fund Medicaid?
Please, Dr. Bentley, look deep into your heart and soul and make the right decision. Your people are counting on you.
© 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.