Alaska Expands Medicaid, Will Get $150M Stimulus

As a reminder of what Governor Dennis Daugaard should be doing with his summer, Alaska Governor Bill Walker announced yesterday that he will expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act:

“Today, Alaska becomes the 30th state to accept the benefits of Medicaid expansion,” Walker said. “This is the final option for me — I’ve tried everything else.”

His remarks were followed by a string of state commissioners and hospital executives who praised the governor and outlined their views of expansion’s benefits. Those include what the Walker administration has estimated as 4,000 new jobs, and fewer uninsured patients who can’t pay their bills.

“I’m here to tell you it is the absolute right thing to do,” said Julie Taylor, the CEO of Alaska Regional Hospital.

…Alaska’s Medicaid program currently covers about 120,000 low-income children, pregnant women and people with disabilities. 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.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states’ costs for Medicaid expansion are fully funded by the federal government through 2016, though that scales back to 90 percent funding by 2020.

Walker said he notified a House-Senate budget committee Thursday of his intent to accept about $150 million in federal money to pay for the expansion [Nathaniel Herz, “Walker Says He’ll Go Ahead with Medicaid Expansion,” Alaska Dispatch News, 2015.07.16].

A flick of the pen, and Uncle Sam drops $150 million into Alaska. Can you say economic stimulus?

Walker is a former Republican turned Independent. Sarah Palin endorsed him in his close 2014 race, so he can’t be that liberal. 45% of the newly eligible Medicaid recipients have jobs, but Walker doesn’t blame those able-bodied workers for the low wages their bosses pay. He recognizes that helping those folks get health coverage is simply the right thing to do:

Thousands of Alaskans and more than 150 organizations, including chambers of commerce, local hospitals, and local governments, have been waiting long enough for Medicaid expansion. It’s time to expand Medicaid so thousands of our friends, coworkers, neighbors, and family members don’t have to make the choice between health care or bankruptcy [Alaska Governor Bill Walker, in Steve Benen, “Despite GOP Opposition, ‘Obamacare’ Continues to Expand,” MSNBC, 2015.07.17].

Alaska is now the 30th state to expand Medicaid under the ACA. Let’s not wait to be 51st, Governor Daugaard. Let’s go for 31st!

24 Responses to Alaska Expands Medicaid, Will Get $150M Stimulus

  1. larry kurtz

    Alaska has a model cannabis law, too.

  2. If the State of Alaska would reduce their annual oil royalty payment to their citizens by $200 each, they could have paid the $150 million themselves.

  3. bearcreekbat

    It could be extremely beneficial to SD folks if our elected leadership could decide that SD should be other than last place in something. It is too bad, however, that our elected officials have missed the opportunity for 100% federal funding for the Medicaid expansion during its initial years.

    Unless these people holding power in SD end the anti-Obama knee jerk attitude soon, we will miss the last year of 100% funding in 2016. How wasteful, allowing our SD tax dollars to help fund the Medicaid expansion in 30 other states, now including oil rich Alaska, but not in SD, solely because of right wing fear and hatred attitudes.

  4. mike from iowa

    El Rayo X-Alaska citizens give Big Awl back close to 2 billion bucks from the PFD thanks to wingnuts who feel Big Awl is taxed too much. They are expecting to give back another 2 billion bucks for each of the next 4 years. What concessions did wingnuts obtain for its citizens from big awl in lieu of 10 billion in tax breaks? Zero,zip,zilch,nada damn thing.

  5. Mike, the point I was making was, the State of Alaska has the resources to pay their own bills and should do so as a favor to taxpayers in the 49 other states. If the Land of Palin want to give their first born to big oil, I don’t care.

  6. Medicaid Expansion would be a win win for South Dakota. We must keep in mind though that Rounds, Tehran Thune, NOem and Daugaard are very clear they want to kill Medicare, Social Security and Obamacare. They have no interest in expanding anything that will help the people. In fact, we cannot even put a referendum in place to expand Medicaid. The only way to get this done is to make sure the citizens here know that Medicaid Expansion is but the tip of their iceberg to end all social programs, period. If any media would have the stones to ask, they should ask them all what they will do to expand Medicare or to expand Social Security…..crickets

  7. Stupid question, but could expansion be put on the 2016 ballot somehow?

  8. Not a stupid question at all, Ron! We could put it on the ballot, but at this point, it would be a steep climb. The timeframe for drafting initiative language, submitting to LRC and Attorney General, and getting approval from SOS Krebs to circulate is as long as 75 days (and I have a feeling that on a Medicaid-expansion initiative, Marty would take his sweet time). That means we might not get the green light to circulate such a petition until October 1, and then we’d have just 40 days to collect 13,871 signatures before the November 9 deadline. I’m inclined at this point to believe the practical door on initiatives is closed, unless you’ve got big money to conduct a signature-collection blitz. Anyone else see a rosier picture?

  9. Those Alaskan Bush People could use some dental work. Will that be covered? Right now they have to go out and catch salmon by hand and beat them with their fists to kill them, then barter the fish to the dentist to get service.

  10. larry kurtz

    There’s new thermal expansion in Yellowstone, maybe the supervolcano will solve Daugaard’s insolence:

  11. I don’t understand why the various tribes want to be excluded from Obamacare. Seems like if it’s bad for them it’s bad for all.

  12. larry kurtz

    tell us how your doltishness is for us to sort out, grud.

  13. As far as Medicaid Expansion in the State of South Dakota is concerned, the old Vulcan saying of “Only Nixon could go to China” comes to mind.

  14. You don’t have to, Mr. kurtz. I will sort it out for you: Obamacare is being thrust on everybody but Indians. Why are we not exempting Mexicans, too?

  15. larry kurtz

    classic flemmoxxing, grud: priceless.

  16. Indeed. Many are often flummoxed by Fleming.

  17. larry kurtz

    frankenfeld fulfilled.

  18. Mexicans are actually Indians, you would know that if you were not home schooled Mr. Grudznick

  19. Not all Mexicans, Mr. jerry. Not all Mexicans. And my ma did a fine job.

  20. That pipeline could have saved Montana 35,000 gallons of goop dumped on the soil. Trains are bad. bad.

  21. Et tu Mormons with Medicaid Expansion? Yup, them too. Dummy Daugaard and the rest of the crooks and liars will never see how they can help South Dakota’s economy. They are too busy counting their ill gotten gains from the EB-5 to do anything honest. I swear, they are really something, the whole lot.

  22. A cool billion with a B will be had by Utah. That will make for seriously needed work there. Good to know that there are at least a couple of Republicans that can add numbers. Will be tough to find any cyphering here in South Dakota that goes past 20, taking off the shoes for the republican gals and 21 for the republican males, with a little more effort.

  23. good info jerry. we need to put the screws to daugaard. alaska, utah-mineral producers. sd-what do we produce? finance apparently. how does that play w/ Medicaid Expansion? we need democratic leadership here and are missing opportunities, i suspect.

  24. almost every opportunity to take a shot at grudz-alberta pipeline just efficiently delivered a 1.3 million gal tar sands “goop” rupture. (like jerry said in mercer-bashing thread :)

    unnecessary pipelines to Koch heavy oil refineries are “bad, bad”-to quote mr. grudz, whose tater grease clogged “pielines” are even unpaid for, yet, owing bob n.