Since Gov. Bill Walker unilaterally expanded Obamacare in Alaska, enrollment has skyrocketed and is providing needed health care coverage to vulnerable Alaskans and bringing additional federal dollars to Alaska as intended. However, nearly 45,000 able-bodied adults are now signed up for the program, which was originally designed solely for low-income children, pregnant women and the disabled. I expect that Walker’s arm is sore from patting himself on the back each time another Alaskan becomes dependent on the government.
But Walker’s signature (possibly only?) accomplishment almost failed in 2018 due to either mismanagement or an intentional underestimation of the costs. Low-income children and disabled Alaskans were put at risk through rampant growth in the Medicaid Expansion population. Without an emergency supplemental budget increase of $100 million (mostly state funds), the program would have become insolvent. The program pays a fraction of actual costs and is overwhelming medical providers; many are turning away new Medicaid patients. This equates to less access to quality care for the most vulnerable Alaskans.
Walker has not introduced work requirements, prepared for imminent changes in federal funding, or taken necessary actions to stem program growth and control costs. His recent gubernatorial shout-outs to Dr. Alan Gross, an outspoken universal health care proponent, signal his plans for prosperity-choking taxes and a socialistic, single-payer health care system. Alaskans deserve better than this. We need new leadership focused on education, public safety, resource development and transportation. Vote Dunleavy.
• My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.