Monday, July 20, 2015

Alaska to expand Medicaid under Obamacare

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, a Republican-turned-Independent who won the 2014 election with the support of the Democratic party, announced on Thursday that he would use his executive power to expand the public Medicaid health-care program, Nathaniel Herz reports for Alaska Dispatch News. Alaska will become the 30th state to expand Medicaid.

"Alaska’s Medicaid program currently covers about 120,000 low-income children, pregnant women and people with disabilities," Herz writes. "Walker’s move makes newly eligible about 42,000 more Alaskans who make less than $20,300 annually, or couples with combined incomes of less than $27,500, though only 21,000 are expected to enroll in the first year." About 45 percent of the 42,000 people currently have jobs, said the Walker administration.

The Alaska Republican Party "called Walker’s decision 'pound-foolish' and said in a prepared statement that he 'risks bankrupting Alaska,'" Herz writes. "Alaska currently spends about $640 million annually on its Medicaid program, with the total state operating budget at just over $5 billion this fiscal year." (Read more)

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