Federal Medicaid Expansion Study Claims Alaska is Missing out


by Whitney LB Miller

ANCHORAGE - A new study from the Council of Economic Advisers claims that states who chose to opt out of medicaid expansion could be missing opportunities. Critics of Gov. Sean Parnell's decision to reject medicaid expansion in Alaska say thousands of Alaskans have lost their medical care.

"We've known this for over a year and unfortunately the governor refuses to accept the facts that are out there and have been shown now by multiple studies," said Anchorage democratic senator Bill Weilechowski.

He says the expansion in other states is slated as a job creator and economic driver. He believes the refusal will cost the state billions of dollars in lost revenue and thousands of jobs.
William Struer, commissioner for the Department of health and social services says the new study is flawed and that the document is hear say and not directly related to any factual research.

"There was no background data behind it," said Struer. "They don't talk about the 9 states that have already indicated that their costs are substantially hire as a result of the expansion."

However, Weilechowski says the expansion could have brought dollars to Alaska.
The federal government promised to pay 100 percent of the cost, that in turn Weilechowski believes would lower cost of insurance for each Alaskan by at least 1,000 dollars.
The NAACP is also saying - we told you so - when it comes to the new report.
This year alone the organization says more than 20,000 Alaskans are missing out on a number of medical care opportunities.

"Its our belief that every Alaskan should have a right to affordable health care and insurance," said Kevin McGee, 1st Vice President of Anchorage NAACP.

The commissioner says those thousands of Alaskans that claim to be without health care, actually do have access through charity care or public health offices.
In November DHSS plans to release their own study looking at ways to provide a higher level of service to Alaskans.

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