NEWS: Alaska House Independent Democratic Coalition Response to Medicaid Expansion Suit Announcement

August 18, 2015, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Below are statements from four House Democrats relating the announcement by Republican legislative majorities in both chambers that they intend to sue the Walker administration over Medicaid expansion. 

Rep. Sam Kito III (D-Juneau) (907) 957-8240, Rep.Sam.Kito@akleg.gov

“I am very disappointed with the Legislative Council vote to hire outside council to pursue a lawsuit against our Governor, challenging his action in accepting Medicaid expansion.  The Governor’s Attorney General, and the Legislative legal department have both prepared legal opinions indicating that the Governor, under existing state law and our Constitution, has the ability to accept Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

“This action will cost the state money, and is challenging a decision that will save the state money, and bring 4,000 jobs into the healthcare sector, and provide much needed healthcare for poor, working Alaskans helping them to be more productive and healthy.”

Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage) (907) 269-0265, Rep.Andy.Josephson@akleg.gov

“Majority leaders miss and ignore an important point in this decision to hire even more lawyers, this time to sue the governor. They’re wrong to say the expansion population is an optional category. It’s clear to me the expansion population is mandatory under federal law. The US Supreme Court only made expansion n choice of individual states because of spending powers issues and states rights issues. But if the state decides to expand, the population is part of the mandatory requirements of federal law.”

Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage) (907)-269-0106, Rep.Les.Gara@akleg.gov

“We could have saved $330 million in state spending by passing the bill the Republican leadership blocked from a vote. We should at least create budget savings by not suing the governor. Republican leaders are wasting state money to stop something that would save the state money and create 4,000 jobs.”

Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage), (907) 269-0144, Rep.Geran.Tarr@akleg.gov 

“I represent hard-working Alaskans working two and three jobs to make ends meet and even then healthcare is often out of reach. We need a healthy workforce if we want a thriving economy. The Republicans’ vote today harms our economy during an already-uncertain time.”