August 18, 2015

CONTACT: Travis Smith (907) 258-3077

With the rollout of Medicaid expansion less than a month away, Republican lawmakers place partisan politics before the well being of Alaskans

ANCHORAGE: Republican lawmakers on the Legislative Council announced their intent to sue the Governor over the expansion of Medicaid. The Council also decided to spend up to $450,000 dollars on legal contracts. In 2013, a judge ruled that Kentucky’s Governor’s expansion of Medicaid was legal.

Republican leadership in Alaska has long sought to stop Medicaid expansion, despite overwhelming public support and possible bipartisan support in the legislature. The Alaska Dispatch reported both the Alaska Department of Law and the Legislature’s attorney agreed that Republican lawmakers’ earlier attempts to block expansion were “likely unconstitutional.”

Republican leadership has yet to allow a floor vote on a stand-alone Medicaid expansion bill.

Alaska’s economy will be strengthened by Medicaid expansion. A recent economic study said that, “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.”

Likewise, an April study by The Robert Wood Johnson foundation found that Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia will see a combined total of $1.8 billion in savings (and revenues) by the end of 2015.

“These Republican lawmakers have once again placed partisan ideology before the wellbeing of Alaskans and our economy,” said Kay Brown, Executive Director of the Alaska Democratic Party. “Setting aside $450,000 to file a frivolous lawsuit is wasteful and a disservice to Alaskans.”