BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Former Governor Robert Bentley is pushing Governor Kay Ivey to expand Medicaid here in Alabama. This comes after Bentley refused to expand the healthcare program while he was in office.

Bentley said it all comes down to money. He said the state now is in the position to make that move and he said it’s something that the people of Alabama really need.

Bentley said when he was in office back in 2011, the state did not have the money to expand Medicaid. He said with COVID-19 relief funds and a larger general fund, the state is in a much better position to do it. He hopes Governor Ivey and lawmakers decide to make that choice.

“If you were brave enough in 2019 to raise a 10 cent sales tax on gasoline, you ought to be brave enough to pass this and bring down the 2 to 3 billion dollars that will help rural hospitals and that will help everybody in the state of Alabama,” Bentley said.

Dr. Bentley said 300,000 people in the state are in need of this expansion, especially during the pandemic when healthcare is vital.

We reached out to Governor Ivey’s office for a comment and are waiting to hear back.