Senator Berta Gardner

February 12, 2015

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Serving Midtown,
Spenard, and UMed

433 W. 4th Ave.
Anchorage, AK 99501
Call Me: 1-800-331-4930

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Medicaid Expansion Update

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Senator Gardner and Senator Olson share a laugh on the Senate Floor.
Senator Gardner and Senator Olson share a laugh on the Senate Floor.

This is my 3rd year in the Senate and 11th year in the legislature.  I’ve served with four different Governors now, and after only 4 weeks I can tell you there is a growing sense of confidence that Governor Walker’s goal is to put Alaskans first, and the partisanship aside.  He is certainly not a politician in the conventional sense!

Throughout his campaign, the Governor was clear that his first order of business was to be Medicaid Expansion in Alaska. He deeply believes that it’s the right thing to do for the people of our state but, and maybe as important, he believes it’s in the economic best interest of the state as well.

Last week, Governor Walker announced “The Healthy Alaska Plan: A Catalyst for Reform” initiative and released the Evergreen Economics analysis, confirming previous reports about the benefits of Medicaid Expansion in Alaska.  An ambitious goal is to begin enrolling eligible Alaskans this July. You can find all the information about his announcement here.

Evergreen identified about 41,910 low-income Alaskans who would become eligible under the expansion. About half of that population would enroll in the first year, with small increases year over year. Of course, it shouldn’t go unsaid that this expansion is paid 100% by the federal government until 2016, after which state support will gradually go to 10%.   The economic highlights include:

• $1.1 billion in new federal revenue for Alaska

• 4,000 new jobs

• $1.2 billion more in wages and salaries paid to Alaskans

• $2.49 billion in increased economic activity throughout the state

• Benefits to small business with improved employee health and employee retention.

Rising healthcare costs have been eating up the state budget now for years. Medicaid expansion, along with the reforms embedded in the Affordable Care Act, are long-term solutions that will begin to bend the cost curve down with larger pools of insured individuals.

Recent studies also show that states with Medicaid Expansion in place are seeing smaller increases, year over year, in healthcare costs overall. Medicaid expansion is the right thing to do for our citizens, it’s the right thing to do for the economy, and I’m hopeful that it will pass.

I’m Berta and I’m still listening,

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office.

signed: Berta


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