Saturday, September 12, 2015

Independent governor overcomes GOP legislature to make Alaska 30th state to expand Medicaid

The Alaska Supreme Court has cleared the way for Gov. Bill Walker to expand eligibility for the federal-state Medicaid program, over the political and legal opposition of the state legislature. Alaska will become the 30th state to expand Medicaid to people with household incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Most Republican-controlled states have not, despite the federal government's heavy subsidy of the expansion.

Walker, a former Republican, was elected as an independent with the support of the state Democratic Party. He says the expansion will save the state money by replacing state funds with the federal subsidy. For a report from Tegan Hanlon of Alaska Dispatch News, click here.

"The expansion will, among other changes, increase federal reimbursement to 100 percent from 50 percent for medically necessary travel for Medicaid-eligible Alaska Natives and American Indians receiving care in Indian Health Service facilities, which is a major medical expense and care concern in rural Alaska," Kirk Johnson reports for The New York Times.

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