August 17, 2015

CONTACT: Travis Smith (907) 258-3077

Alaska Policy Forum placed a game show themed radio ad that regurgitates Koch Brothers’ anti Medicaid expansion talking points

ANCHORAGE: Alaska Policy Forum, a think tank with strong ties to the Koch Brothersreleased a radio ad entitled, “Medicaid and WalkerCare in Alaska.”

The game show themed ad begins with saying that a “healthcare giveaway sweepstakes,” is being held in Alaska. The ad goes on to say:

But some Alaskans are not eligible to win [deflated audience sigh]. Like people with children [buzzer], military families and veterans [buzzer], married or single adults earning decent wages [buzzer], but childless, low income, able-bodied adults aged 19-64 [ding, ding], and released felons [ding, ding] you can win Governor Walker’s healthcare giveaway sweepstakes, unlimited no cost healthcare [crowd applause]. Congratulations.

First off, adults with children making at or below the federal poverty line are already covered under Medicaid, as that was the original basis of Medicaid. Secondly, many senior citizens are dual eligible for Medicare & Medicaid and the AARP supports expansion. Thirdly, under the ACA, people who make “decent wages” (above 138% of the federal poverty line) are eligible for subsidized healthcare.

As for veterans, Medicaid expansion has been seen as a vital source of healthcare for uninsured veterans. The Urban Institute cites a 2010 study, which found that there were nearly 1.3 million uninsured veterans nationwide. Alaska has the highest state per-capita veteran population in the country.

The Pew Charitable Trust notes that many people assume, not unlike the Alaska Policy Forum’s radio ad, that our nation’s 12.5 million vets receive VA benefits. However, according to PEW, only 2/3 of that population is eligible and only 1/3 are actually enrolled. The article continues to note that if Medicaid were to have been expanded nationally, over 150,000 veterans’ family members would be eligible for Medicaid.

The PEW article contains an info graphic [sourced from the Urban Institute] that shows in 2013, Alaska had 2,400 uninsured Veterans. These Veterans are now covered under Medicaid expansion.

“It’s clear that the people at Alaska Policy Forum do not have the best interest of Alaskans at heart,” said Mike Wenstrup, chair of the Alaska Democratic Party. “This group has resorted to lies in an attempt to prevent nearly 40,000 Alaskans and thousands of Alaska veterans from obtaining healthcare.”