Lt. gov. candidate Anchorage Mayor Sullivan talks Medicaid in Sitka

Here’s Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, who, it should be noted, gets some of the best, tax-payer funded healthcare available, talking to KCAW, Sitka’s public radio station, about Medicaid expansion:

Sullivan said he opposes expanding a program that will inevitably add to the federal debt.

Sullivan: Doesn’t make sense for me to say we should borrow more money from China to expand a government program.

KCAW: Does that mean that you wouldn’t accept federal funds for anything in Alaska? Or specifically Medicaid?

Sullivan: “Well, take it issue by issue. If somebody said, you know, federal highway dollars for example can help build a road that could lead to good jobs and economic development, then you can see an end game there that’s positive…”

Medicaid, he said, doesn’t meet that bar.

“As far as expanding Medicaid, again, I’m not sure where it was ever determined that it’s the government’s role to provide Medicaid to x number of people…It was supposed to be a safety net. And it’s expanded to where the levels that are qualified I think go beyond a safety net and really just become I think another government entitlement program that’s unsustainable.”


24 thoughts on “Lt. gov. candidate Anchorage Mayor Sullivan talks Medicaid in Sitka

  1. KR

    What is Beltrami’s obsession with Mayor Dan? Hey Vincey, the mayor is married. Back off big boy. You sound more and more like a labor boy spurnned. As you would say, TOUCHE!

  2. Vince Beltrami

    Touche, Mayor Dan. If that’s your real name. But you pondered a question to Amanda without actually providing any insight. So, if government provided health care is an unsustainable entitlement, will you give up yours? Or is your muni plan somehow not a government entitlement in your mind?

    The biggest “unsustainable entitlement programs that are bankrupting our great nation” are the massive tax loopholes giving the wealthiest corporations (and people) on the planet tax breaks that dwarf the money that goes to programs for those in need. Or do you just have trouble “understanding the logic” when government supports those who need it most, versus those who don’t? Corporate welfare is just fine, right?

  3. commonsense

    Thanks to Mr. Sullivan for speaking to this troublesome issue. We know we need a fix to our ailing healthcare system, and we do not see Medicaid as the cure. Expanding Medicaid would likely go the way of Medicare and Social Security–perhaps good in theory, but in practice are programs that are unsustainable in their present form. We appreciate a politician who tells it like it is. You have my vote, Mr. Sullivan.

  4. Jack Morgan

    I appreciate Dan Sullivan because he doesn’t dodge the question about Medicaid, but calls it like it is. It’s not the solution, just a very bad patch to a system that has become swamped by paperwork. Doctors are leaving the field because they can no longer practice medicine, and the reimbursements from the government are just too low to make it worth it. Furthermore, ObamaCare is making things worse for everyone placing the government between a doctor and the patient. This is a terribly wrong thing to do. Repeal ObamaCare!

  5. Amanda Post author

    Lynn. I thought of that. However, I don’t know how much is actually subsidized, or how much is based on new rules that limit how much insurance companies can spend on things other than providing health care coverage.

  6. Lynn Willis

    Thanks for the correction. I too, as a military retiree am eligible for federal health care, and I too pay a premium. I also pay additional premiums for a child in school under the age of 26. That said, based on what you and I would otherwise have to pay in both premiums and deductibles I suggest substantial government funds are expended to sustain and administer any of these plans be it ACA, TRICARE. Medicaid, or Medicare. My point is that I am not so hypocritical to have my eligibility for benefits then turn around and criticize others who are not so fortunate.

  7. Garand Fellow

    I am sorry. I still don’t understand your road metaphor. However I think toll roads are a great idea. The more government services are paid by the actual consumer of those services the better.

    Many state boards have paid board members but most do not. My information may be out of date but last time I looked the KABATA board did not pay its board members anything – not meeting fees or per diem. If your point is that progress has been slow then I certainly agree, even by government standards.

  8. Mayor Dan

    Wrong Vince – I always comment from my home computer which has me signed in – today I commented for the first time from my personal phone which does not have a previous sign in.

  9. Amanda Post author

    @Lynn. Quick correction. I don’t get government funded healthcare. I pay the full premiums without credits, which is about $600 a month now with a $2500 deductible. I consider that a good deal. If it weren’t for the ACA, I would be paying about $1200 a month for a plan with a similiar deductible, but with far fewer services covered.

  10. Lynn Willis

    Mayor Dan,
    Thanks for the response. At the rate the political majority in this state is spending direct grants will last until we finally deplete our savings if we don’t control ourselves. In fact, I expect to see the legislature, in an effort to “sustain the pork train”, propose more bonded indebtedness this session as they did a few years with the 500 million state road construction bond.
    You have been a rare exception to the behavior of your fellow party members and I appreciate that your efforts have resulted in a AAA rating; however, just like I have a good credit rating and could obtain a line of credit on the value of my home that has no mortgage, I chose, absent an emergency, to live within my revenue stream and not add on to my house just because I can and because that might increase the resale value of my home in the future. I will maintain what I have and not create more of a maintenance cost burden on myself.
    Interesting how some see a bond sale, regardless of who purchases the bond, as not anything other than an I.O.U. that we eventually have to pay back. Your response that I want to expand unsustainable entitlement programs is absolutely correct assuming it includes entitlements to both ends of the political spectrum. For example why don’t we de-fund all government funded health insurance benefits for elected officials and their appointees in conjunction with not expanding Medicaid? Wouldn’t that be fair? That seems logical to me.

  11. Mayor Dan

    Lynn clearly does not understand that financing roads, ports, bridges etc., is done through either direct grants or bond issuances that are purchased by financial institutions. Given Alaska’s AAA bond rating, critical infrastructure that help grow our economy can be financed at the lowest rates and do not involve printing more money or borrowing money from China. Lynn wants to cut spending yet expand unsustainable entitlement programs that are bankrupting our great nation. Hard to find the logic there.

  12. Vince Beltrami

    Hey Mayor Dan, you do know that when you go to leave a comment on this site it just uses the last sign-in information you used from the last time you posted, right? So, how many other posts have you made on Amanda’s site as “Anonymous” ?

  13. Lynn Willis

    You must realize that welfare is provided at both ends of the political spectrum. The wealthy and the poor both benefit from government spending. Sullivan is a typical modern Republican who cannot, or will not, see that fact. Some see the world as divided between the “makers” and the “takers”. The “makers” consider themselves to be morally superior and entitled to government largess regardless of what they actually contribute. A board member of KABATA or some similar government funded agency is, to me, less productive than a minimum-wage fast-food worker yet in the minds of some since the KABATA member wears a suit ,and is able to call an elected official directly, he (or she) must be more worthy. In this case can you appreciate the hypocrisy of legislators, and other elected officials, who are provided government health insurance, bad mouthing the likes of Amanda Coyne and others for obtaining government subsidized health insurance. That is my point.
    If Dan Sullivan follows his logic to the correct soltuion, he will stop being such a burden to a state and nation, both in deficit spending, and refuse goverment funded health insurance and be willing to pay a toll if he drives on a road that does not directly provide him employment.

  14. Garand Fellow

    You lost me. I am just unable to follow your reasoning. Government must spend less money; from both a fiscal responsibility standpoint and a freedom from tyranny standpoint. In the US today the halt and the lame are adequately provided with color televisions, air conditioning, computers and food. Now we also supply the lazy and the discouraged, and that wrecks society. Plus, we cannot afford it. Expanding Medicaid is a bridge too far, and I think that is what Mayor Dan Sullivan is saying.

  15. Truth Teller

    I think Mayor Sullivan is a know-nothing. Fortunately, I think Parnell views him with about the same level of respect as I do. Thank goodness Sullivan will have little role in the Parnell adminiistration. Even the governor, on multiple occasions, has indicated a willingness to keep an open mind on Medicaid expansiion.
    The Mayor offers little quantitative intellect.

  16. Lynn Willis

    What is Sullivan’s alternative other than to deny medical care to people or keep paying for such expensive alternatives as emergency room primary care? I trust we will never hear that alternative.
    So using public debt to fund government expenditures meets the “Sullivan Bar” only if someone directly profits from those expenditures as in the example of the road built for jobs. The “Sullivan Bar” concept certainly explains the motive for much of the current state budgets created and approved by Governor Parnell. I can live with that if Sullivan will then demand that the road and other projects paid for with “money borrowed from China” (or maybe even borrowed from our state savings), can only be used without charge by those who will gain employment or profit by the building of that road or other project. All other users of that road or project paid for with borrowed funds will pay a toll or a tax. Good idea!

  17. DB

    What Mayor Sullivan did not mention is that if Medicaid is expanded to single able-bodied persons, they will go to the front of the line at a doctor’s office, ahead of veterans, military dependents, and seniors on Medicare. That is because in Alaska Medicaid patients have a much higher reimbursement rate than both Medicare and Tricare. So seniors will suffer as will military family members and veterans.

  18. Garand Fellow

    Anchorage Dan Sullivan has the high ground here in my opinion. He is speaking like a responsible American and that is refreshing no matter what state he might be representing. It looks to me like he is saying that spending must be considered on a case by case basis but overall spending and the ever expanding welfare state must be reduced.

    Let’s face it, Medicaid, food stamps and the like are simply income redistribution, and deficit spending is redistribution from future generations to the generation that is in adulthood today. At best federal welfare programs are dishonest. At worst they condemn people to a life of laziness and irresponsibility. The welfare state spends away what is good about America.

  19. Mae

    We are discussing Dan the Bartender who is currently Mayor. So the bar (pun intended) on common sense is about how full he’ll fill the shot glass and who he is giving it too.

  20. joeblow

    Building a road leads to more jobs than just the actual construction.

    As for Medicaid expansion, there is no guarantee that the Feds will continue to support it at the same level, especially when Obama is gone. That additional burden will be passed to the states, right at the same time all the delayed costs of Obamacare hit.

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