In Sunday’s Anchorage Daily News, Rich Mauer wrote again about the report commissioned by the state on Medicaid expansion that Gov. Sean Parnell’s administration has for months refused to release. Their refusal is based on “deliberative process,” a catchall phrase, apparently, used by the administration to encompass anything that they’re thinking about.
Parnell hasn’t yet decided whether or not he’s going to accept federal money to expand Medicaid, a linchpin of ObamaCare. He claims to be looking out for the state’s best fiscal interest.
It should be noted here that since Parnell took over, the state’s share of the budget has increased by 55 percent and government employment has increased by 3.9 percent. A not unsubstantial part of that increase is due to rising health care costs, for which a large portion of state workers, including state legislators and those in the executive office, pay nothing in monthly premiums.
Like other Republican governors across the country, Parnell’s likely getting pressure from groups opposed to the law, including the anti-tax group, the Club For Growth, which heavily supported him during his 2008 run against Rep. Don Young.
However, As Mauer points out, there are other ways of getting information about the effects of Medicaid expansion. Through various sources, this is what is known, according to the ADN:
• 41,500 uninsured Alaska residents, including 15,700 Alaska Natives, would become eligible for Medicaid if the expansion is approved (ANTHC).
• Alaska’s statewide mortality rate would decline significantly — one prevented death per year for each 176 newly covered adults (ANTHC).
• About 3,500 new jobs would be created by 2017 through expansion (ANTHC).
• Between 2014 and 2020, the state would spend $90.7 million on expansion, while receiving $1.1 billion federal funds. Savings in other programs would offset the state contribution by at least $67.3 million. Over the first five years, the offsets would actually be greater than the expenditures on Medicaid (ANTHC).