SOS Brings 13,000 Signatures to May 31 Rally Urging Medicaid Expansion in Alabama

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(Montgomery, AL May 28, 2014) – Save OurSelves (SOS) Movement for Justice and Democracy will flood the office of Gov. Dr. Robert Bentley with as many as 13,000 signatures at its May 31st rally in Montgomery urging him to expand Medicaid in Alabama.

SOS member organizations have united churches and supporters who collected signatures from residents around the state. The signatures represent thousands of Alabamians who are telling the governor and other state leaders to expand medical coverage to 300,000 fellow citizens who are without health insurance. Gov. Bentley sided with opponents of the Affordable Health Care and exercised his discretion to reject expansion of the state Medicaid program.

In response, the SOS coalition organized the rally and petition campaign, enlisting the help of local member organizations and supporters to gather signatures and help average Alabamians to understand, in personal terms, what is at stake. Many people adversely impacted by the GOP position have shared stories of family hardship, compromised health and death.  The message coming from clergy, non-profits, childcare and public and private social service providers, who have joined in the petition gathering is to expand medical coverage.

The number of Republican-controlled states that rejected Medicaid expansion have dropped from 24 to 19. Indiana, Pennsylvania and Utah are among those states whose GOP governors are looking to create exchanges or make other changes to expand Medicaid to more of their residents. It’s time that Alabama moves in the same direction.

SOS Health Committee Chair Barbara Howard said this campaign started several months ago with the goal of collecting at least 10,000 Alabama signatures as well as raising awareness among state residents. “We’ve exceeded that goal, and they are still coming in,” she says.

“The number of signatures we’ve collected in such a short period of time tells me there are many Alabamians who are ready to move past rhetoric to protect the health of their fellow citizens, which helps us all,” Howard says. “This isn’t about being a Republican or Democrat, or fighting Washington, D.C. It’s about putting the needs of people over politics. Gov. Bentley, a doctor sworn to do no harm, should know this better than the average citizen. He has a legal and moral obligation to lead the people in doing what’s right.”

For every day that Alabama fails to expand Medicaid, the state loses $3.9 million dollars. That means 30,000 jobs aren’t created, and struggling rural hospitals will close in areas with the greatest medical need, among other negative economic impacts.

Medicaid expansion supporters across Alabama will rally at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 31, 2014, on the State Capitol steps in Montgomery.

Media Advisory: For more information on the rally, contact Sophia Bracy-Harris at 334-590-1005 , or Jeffery Jones at 251-455-8121.

Sign the Petition and read more online under “Expand Medicaid in Alabama.”

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