June 26, 2015

CONTACT: Travis Smith (907) 258-3077 

Recent News Strengthens Case for Medicaid Expansion

SCOTUS’ Affordable Care Act ruling and Projections of a struggling economy both suggest that the time for Medicaid expansion is now

ANCHORAGE: The Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling in favor the ACA means that healthcare subsidies will continue in states like Alaska, which do not have a state-run health insurance exchange. Throughout this past legislative session Republican lawmakers cited this very decision as a reason for not expanding Medicaid. With yesterday’s ruling, that excuse is no longer valid.

The court’s ruling means that 17,000 Alaskans get to keep their healthcare plans, which is good news, because a recently commissioned economic study shows that Alaska has a strong chance to experience an economic recession in the coming years. However, the study does point to Medicaid expansion as a way to help weather the coming storm.

The authors of the study say, “it is clear that Medicaid expansion is a concrete means for mitigating Alaska’s economic trauma and setting the stage for Alaska’s economic recovery.”

This is yet another economic study that reinforces the need for Medicaid expansion in Alaska. Alongside the growing number of expansion-positive economic reports, multiple public polls show expansion to be highly popular among Alaskans.

So, with the ACA’s place solidified by the King V. Burwell ruling, the stark economic forecast, and the continued public support for Medicaid expansion, Republican leadership in the Alaska legislature is running out of reasons to not expand.

“With each anti-Medicaid expansion argument falling by the way side it becomes more clear that Republican leadership’s refusal to expand is primarily partisan in nature, and not for the well being of Alaskans,” said Mike Wenstrup chair of the Alaska Democratic Party.