FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 16, 2015

CONTACT: Travis Smith (907) 258-3077

Medicaid Expansion in Alaska!

Governor Walker and Lt. Gov. Mallot put Alaska first and expand Medicaid

ANCHORAGE: Medicaid Expansion is now a reality in Alaska, thanks to a long-fought effort by Democratic legislators, Governor Walker, the business community, faith based organizations, health care providers, and Alaskans from across the state.

Throughout this year, Republican legislative leadership, despite public opinionshowing massive support for the policy, halted Medicaid expansion on multiple occasions. Medicaid expansion also had support within the legislative body, perhaps even enough to have passed an up or down vote, as Rep. Lora Reinbold’santi-Medicaid Expansion email indicated.

Republican legislators insisted on tying the hands of the governor by including language in the budget that barred the governor from accepting Medicaid expansion funds. However, the ADN reported, both the executive and legislative branches’ attorneys said that language blocking Medicaid expansion in the budget was unconstitutional.

Multiple economic reports show that expansion will help stimulate the Alaskan economy, and with the recent sequestration troop reductions, the economic benefits of Medicaid expansion are needed now more than ever.

Today’s decision will allow 40,000 Alaskans access to affordable healthcare. Along with the benefits of having more Alaskans insured, the economy will see a large benefit as well. The policy will create some 4,000 new jobs, which will infuse the Alaskan economy with over $1 billion in new wages. That money will multiply throughout the local economy.

“Alaskans are going to be healthier and our economy is going to be stronger because of today's announcement," said Mike Wenstrup chair of the Alaska Democratic Party. "Expanding Medicaid is the right thing to do."