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Judge rules in favor of Medicaid expansion

A Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Gov. Bill Walker Tuesday in the Legislative Council’s case against Medicaid expansion. The Republican-led council sued last summer to stop Walker from unilaterally expanding Medicaid.

Judge Frank Pfiffner ruled the governor did not violate the state’s constitution when he expanded Medicaid. More than 10,000 low-income Alaskans have enrolled in the program since it began Sept. 1.

The case hinged on whether the Medicaid expansion population was an optional or required group under federal law. Walker would have needed legislative approval to add an optional group to the program.

During oral arguments, Pfiffner noted he was likely a “speed bump” on the way to the state Supreme Court.

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