Senator Berta Gardner

March 4, 2015

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Serving Midtown, Spenard, and UMed

State Capitol Bldg. Rm 9
Juneau, AK 99801
Phone: 907-465-4930
Call Me: 1-800-331-4930

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Governor Bill Walker
Anchorage Office
550 W. 7th Ave, Ste 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 269-7450

Lt. Governor Byron Mallott
Anchorage Office
550 W. 7th Ave, Ste 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 269-7460

What's Your Story?

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Senator Gardner listens to testimony during a committee hearing.
Senator Gardner listens to testimony during a committee hearing.

Thank you to all who came out to our District constituent meeting and to the Anchorage Caucus. The three of us (Reps. Drummond, Josephson and I) all enjoyed the conversations, questions and your stories.

One story that really stood out to me was that of the young woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident.  She had been employed and working her way into a career before the accident. Afterwards, unable to work, she used her savings to pay for expensive and sustained medical to help her return to health with the expectation that in the future she will again be employable.  When her funds run out she will be unable to continue medical care and possibly will never be fully self-supporting in the future.  She believes that Medicaid expansion will help her get the medical care she needs to continue her progress.

As you may be aware, there is debate among the legislature on whether or not to accept the funds for Medicaid expansion.  Multiple research reports show that Medicaid expansion would achieve the following:

  • the number of uninsured would fall by half;
  • more Alaskans would get preventative and primary care, and help in managing costly chronic diseases;
  • small business owners would benefit because of less turnover and fewer lost work days due to employees with unattended illnesses and injuries;
  • generate 4,000 jobs in Alaska;
  • bring more than a billion new federal dollars into the Alaska economy over the first 5 years; and
  • dramatic reduction in the levels of uncompensated care provided by hospitals.  These costs are passed along to everyone through higher hospital charges.

Opponents worry that that the initial 100% federal reimbursement, moving over 5 years to 90% reimbursement might be discontinued.  However, we have established that the state can accept the expansion on condition that federal funding is maintained.  In that worst case scenario the thousands of Alaskans who had coverage briefly will have benefited for that time.  Beyond that concern I have heard no credible objection by opponents of Medicaid expansion.

The stories we hear from Alaskans about how getting medical coverage would improve their lives really impact me in a powerful way, and I believe they have the power to impact the entire legislature.   I intend to share these stories at every opportunity.  Will you help me by telling me your stories about what Medicaid expansion might mean for you and your own family?  What have been your struggles to get insurance coverage?   Do you have a family member who would be impacted?  We do not need to use your name or identifiable information but can simply refer to you as a constituent, or as an Alaskan, or however you wish.

Please email me at, call me at 465-4930 or reach out to me on my Facebook page, and let me know your story.

           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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