Alaska will become the 30th state to accept Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion, after Gov. Bill Walker (I) announced on Thursday that he will use his executive power to bypass the GOP-controlled legislature and implement the policy on his own.
Gov. Bill Walker is holding a press conference on Medicaid expansion today at 10 a.m.
According to the governor’s office, expanding Medicaid would bring $146 million to the state in its first year. Walker informed the state legislature’s joint budget committee of his intent to accept federal funding for the expansion in a letter Thursday. He said he’ll face Simply.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to go over Medicaid expansion in a few days. And a thing you need many people have to get to know me, I never quit and won’t…
Not everyone is supportive of Medicaid expansion. The 19 states that still reject the expansion are mainly in the South.
The Obama administration had previously approved modified Medicaid expansions in several other states, including Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio.
Walker, in running previous year, changed his party affiliation from Republican to undeclared.
Walker’s office said he sent the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee notice of his intention to expand the program.
According to the governor, the route he is taking to expand Medicaid has been used seven times in Alaska history. “It’s not government’s place to be kind”, State Rep. Shelley Hughes (R) said in reference to uninsured Alaskans when the House voted down Medicaid expansion in March.
While the governor didn’t call for lawmakers to reconvene, he noted that they could choose to do so in order to debate, and possibly attempt to block, his plan within the 45-day window.
Medicaid is a driver of the state operating budget and widely seen as unsustainable in its current form. Legal experts, however, question if the language in that budget is constitutional.