Representative Matt Claman's Alaska Matters
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Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain
August 26, 2015
In this issue:
• Medicaid expansion lawsuit
• President Obama’s visit
• Community events and opportunities
• Follow us!

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope you are enjoying the last weeks of summer and have found time to explore our wonderful mountains, rivers, beaches, and trails. Good luck to all of the students returning to school! I had a great time at West High’s Homecoming Game last Friday and was honored to do the coin toss at the start of the game.

Last week, 10 members of the legislature decided to spend $450,000 to sue Governor Walker over his decision to expand Medicaid following the Legislature’s inaction on Medicaid expansion and reform. With strong support from our house district, I will continue to support the Governor’s decision to expand Medicaid and will encourage other members of the Legislature to do the same.

Medicaid Expansion Lawsuit:

When Governor Walker used his executive authority to expand Medicaid in mid-July, it should have been with no surprise. The Governor campaigned on Medicaid expansion. As both the Governor and Commissioner Davidson explain, in addition to improving access to healthcare and saving money, Medicaid expansion helps strengthen our state’s economy. At the beginning of session, the Governor included receipt authority for Medicaid expansion in his budget, which allows over a billion dollars in new federal revenue for Alaska. In response to the Legislature’s interest in Medicaid reform, the Governor introduced a reform bill (HB 148) that would go hand-in-hand with Medicaid expansion. But in both the regular and the special session, the House Finance Committee refused to vote on the reform bill. And the Legislature did not include receipt authority in the budget. 

Despite the fact that at least 60% of Alaskans state-wide  and a majority of legislators support Medicaid expansion, the Republican-led Majority Caucus continually declined to address Medicaid expansion or reform. In an article in the Alaska Dispatch News, Senate President Kevin Meyer suggested that the Majority would not allow a bill on the floor even if a majority (combination of Republicans, Democrats, and independents) of the legislature supported the bill: “We (the Majority) don’t want to put anything on the floor that the majority caucus doesn’t support.”

Medicaid Expansion Statistics

Our communications with people from West Anchorage are consistent with state-wide reports: Alaskans support Medicaid expansion because it is best for Alaska. People think it is not fair to refuse access to affordable health care to over 40,000 hard-working and poor Alaskans because a majority of one caucus—but a minority of the legislature—do not support the program.

Just last week, the Legislative Council Committee voted 10-1 (Rep. Sam Kito (Juneau), a member of the Independent Democratic Coalition, was the only “no” vote) decided to spend $450,000 ($400,000 will be spent on a Washington DC law firm) on a lawsuit against Governor Walker. The Department of Law and the Legislature’s lawyers have both written legal memos explaining Governor Walker’s authority to use his executive authority to expand Medicaid. In failing to address Medicaid expansion throughout the regular and special sessions, the Legislature missed the opportunity to address Medicaid reform. Instead of a win-win (Medicaid expansion and reform), we now have a lawsuit.

In the next several days, Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner will probably rule on the legislative plaintiff’s request for a preliminary injunction that would put Medicaid expansion on hold while the lawsuit goes forward. We will provide further updates in our next newsletter.

Learn more about the state’s Medicaid expansion plan by clicking here.
Learn more about the state’s Medicaid expansion plan by clicking here.

President Obama’s Visit:

Starting on Monday, President Obama is scheduled to visit Alaska. This 3-day trip is the first time since statehood that a US President will spend more than a few hours in Alaska. There have been many news articles addressing the President’s visit that you can read herehere, and here. Additionally, the Washington Post published an interesting article that provides some history about all of Alaska’s presidential visits. I have been asked by many of my friends and neighbors about President Obama’s visit, including questions about whether local elected officials and Anchorage residents will meet with the President. At this time, I have no information about the President’s visit and I am working hard for an opportunity to meet with the President to discuss issues that are important to Alaskans.

Check out this video about President Obama’s visit to Alaska!
Check out this video about President Obama’s visit to Alaska!

Community Events and Opportunities:

Congratulations to the West and Dimond High Tennis and Football for picking up victories in the last week!
Congratulations to the West and Dimond High Tennis and Football for picking up victories in the last week! Don’t miss the West Anchorage rivalry game, West vs. Dimond 7pm this Friday August 28th.
 
Mark your calendar for the 2015 Health Fair in Anchorage November 7th-8th from 8am to 12pm at Alaska Regional Hospital.
Mark your calendar for the 2015 Health Fair in Anchorage November 7th-8th from 8am to 12pm at Alaska Regional Hospital. For more information click here.

As always, please let us know if you have suggestions or concerns.

Sincerely,

signed: Matt Claman

    Rep. Matt Claman

    P.S. follow me on Facebook and Twitter

Contact Information

(907) 465-4919

Rep.Matt.Claman@akleg.gov

State Capitol Bldg. Rm 405
Juneau, Alaska 99801

www.repmattclaman.com

Contact the Governor

550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
T (907) 269-7450 F (907) 269-7461
EMAIL: Governor Bill Walker

STATE of ALASKA
http://alaska.gov/

State Info (907) 269-5111

Serving the Anchorage Neighborhoods of
Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain

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