NEWS: Alaska Consumers Pay for Governor’s Failure to Accept Medicaid Expansion

Rep. Andrew Josephson

Rep. Josephson critical of policies that place politics and insurance industry profits above health of Alaska families

For Immediate Release: October 7th, 2014 

         ANCHORAGE – Nationwide 7.3 million people have signed up for Marketplace plans, paid their premiums, and accessed quality, affordable coverage. States that accepted the Medicaid expansion have seen lower premiums.  In 2015 there will be a 25% increase in the total number of issuers selling health insurance plans in the Marketplace in 44 states. (Source: Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services)  Alaska’s denial of Medicaid expansion curbs the number of consumers enrolling in healthcare, making an already small marketplace less inviting for competition.  Additionally, creating an Alaska marketplace would have allowed Alaska to create a larger pool of participants across state lines, lowering rates for Alaskans. 

         “The absence of Medicaid expansion in Alaska has meant the failure to (1) employ thousands of Alaskans in the healthcare field; (2) the loss of $1.1 billion revenue directly linked to the expansion; (3) the loss of over $1 billion more in “ripple effect” economic benefit; (4) the inability to insure 41,000 Alaskans who fall in a donut hole—unable to qualify for Medicaid and unable to afford ACA premiums; (5) and the saving of Alaska lives,” stated Representative Josephson.

         Alaska was one of only seven states to not accept federal rate review grants.  Rate review grants were a provision in the Affordable Care Act meant to assist states in evaluating their insurance rates, thereby increasing transparency and ensuring Alaskan consumers are receiving fair rates. 

         “The Governor failed to accept $250,000 in federal rate review grants designed to help state governments keep the insurance industry honest and not needlessly and unfairly increase premiums. It is an outrage that the Governor would complain about Affordable Care Act, while not accepting these revenues to keep the system ‘in check’ and keep premiums affordable.  Instead, the Governor’s consistent approach has been to whine about the Affordable Care Act, rather than defend hard working Alaskan families,” said Representative Josephson.

         For more information, contact Rep. Josephson at (907) 269-0265.



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