NEWS: Alaska Governor Legally Obligated to Accept Federal Funds for Medicaid Expansion

Juneau – Today, Representatives Tiffany Zulkosky (D-Bethel), Zack Fields (D-Anchorage), and Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage) released a memorandum from the non-partisan Division of Legal and Research Services confirming that the Governor of Alaska is legally obligated to accept federal funding to cover the Medicaid expansion population in Alaska. The memo’s authors note that the governor cannot simply eliminate funding for Medicaid expansion by refusing to receive federal funds. The memo goes on to stipulate that any restriction on how Medicaid funds are to be spent must be made by statute – not the budget.

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NEWS: Lawmakers Comment on Management Changes at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute

Juneau – Earlier today, the Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Adam Crum, announced that he was taking over the day to day management of the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API) in Anchorage, which is Alaska’s only psychiatric hospital. Commissioner Crum has contracted with a private health care company to provide administrative support and leadership for the hospital.

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NEWS: Legislation Pre-Filed to Prohibit the Sale of Products in Alaska Made with Certain Harmful Chemicals

Juneau – Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) has pre-filed the “Toxic-Free Firefighters and Children Act” for consideration by the 31st Alaska State Legislature. House Bill 27 would make it illegal to manufacture, sell, or distribute new products in Alaska with certain flame-retardant chemicals. The bill also requires manufacturers to label products made with flame retardant chemicals.

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NEWS: Legislation Pre-Filed to Improve Alaska’s Worker’s Compensation System

Juneau – Today, Representative Andy Josephson pre-filed legislation to make vital improvements to Alaska’s Workers Compensation system. House Bill 30 features several improvements including adjusting benefits for inflation for those receiving Permanent Partial Impairment (PPI) and death benefits. These benefits have not been adjusted for inflation for approximately 20 and 50 years, respectively. The bill increases the PPI index from $177,000 to $255,506 and requires annual updates to account for inflation. The bill also adjusts the death benefit for financial dependents up to $100,000 from the current level of $20,000 set in 1968.

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