So far, eight Republican governors have decided to split with their party and accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion in their states. Today, Sean Parnell announced that he won’t be joining them — at least for now.
On Thursday, Parnell said that he will not ask legislators to put any money toward broadening the health program and opening it up to more low-income Alaskans. His concern is that the federal government could end up reneging on promised funds, given the current fiscal climate in Washington.
“So if we expand the Medicaid population and the federal government fails to keep its financial commitment, the state would likely have to backfill forward-lost federal dollars to cover beneficiaries of the expansion and to protect the health coverage of everyone currently in the program,” said Parnell.
Parnell plans to revisit the prospect of Medicaid expansion in December, when he rolls out his annual budget proposal.
If Medicaid were expanded in the state, it’s projected that it would extend coverage to 40,000 Alaskans. Under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government will cover the full cost of growing the program for the first three years. After that, the state share would gradually go up to 10 percent.
Because the federal government will start offering extra money for Medicaid expansion in January, putting off a decision on the program means that Alaska will be opting out of that funding for the first six months that it is available.
- Residents in a homeless camp off Egan Drive have been given 14 days to vacate the property. The area owned by the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority is slated for sale and redevelopment.
- Rural health aides have a long, successful history of improving access to health care in Alaska. Now, dental a program based on that model is improving oral care in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
- From midnight Monday through about 1 p.m. Tuesday, Ketchikan received more than 8 inches of rain.
- Canadian power company Hydro One isn't interested in selling Alaska Electric Light & Power Company. But the Juneau Assembly still wants to study the prospect of a municipal-owned utility.