SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Governor Walker Announces Medicaid Expansion and Reform Plan


February 07, 2015
Saturday AM

(SitNews) Anchorage, Alaska - Governor Bill Walker was joined Friday by Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Valerie Davidson at the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center to present the plan for Medicaid expansion and reform, “The Healthy Alaska Plan: A Catalyst for Reform.”

Medicaid expansion and reform have been top priorities for the Walker administration in support of the state’s ongoing commitment to serve the health needs of Alaskans.

On the left, Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Valerie Davidson with Governor Bill Walker at Friday's announcement.
Photo courtesy Office of the Governor - Video File

“Today, Alaska takes another step toward the goal of providing health insurance to the tens of thousands of Alaskans at no cost to the state,” Governor Walker said.

Also presented was a new report by Evergreen Economics (pdf), who have been analyzing Medicaid data for the Department for almost a decade. The report provides details on the Alaskans who would be eligible for Medicaid through expansion and projected costs of their health care.

The reports project $145.5 million in federal revenues to Alaska in fiscal year 2016, increasing over the next six years. Further, state general fund savings are projected to be $6.1 million in fiscal year 2016 and increase in the years following.

According to the reports, Medicaid will provide over 40,000 Alaskans with access to health care while generating 4,000 jobs and pumping more than a billion new federal dollars into the Alaska economy over the first five years. These are Alaska tax dollars coming back to Alaska. These are new dollars driving economic activity across the state.

“This report illustrates why Medicaid expansion isn’t just good for the health of our citizens, it’s good for the health of our economy,” Governor Walker added.

“Expanding Medicaid will give Alaskans access to the health care they deserve and need to stay productive,” Davidson said. “We look forward to analyzing and selecting the best reform options for building a sustainable Medicaid system in Alaska with help from various stakeholder groups.”

An overview of some of the restructuring currently underway by DHSS:

  • Care management to control overutilization of emergency room services
  • Improvements for seniors and Alaskans with disabilities with a focus on person-centered planning and conflict-free services
  • Development of the Patient-Centered Medical Home project in conjunctions with the Alaska Primary Care Association
  • Coordination with the Alaska tribal health system to increase community resources and strengthen systems of care
  • Methods of increasing the federal contribution for certain home and community based services and shift others from state to federal funded services.

Before Medicaid can be expanded, two large computer systems that handle eligibility for medicaid and payments to doctors, must be improved in order to handle the additional caseload. Alaska is replacing it's eligibility information system, or EIS, with the Alaska’s Resource for Integrated Eligibility Services (ARIES).



Governor Walker Announces Medicaid Expansion and Reform Plan

Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


On the Web:

The new Healthy Alaska Plan website features economic reports and other Medicaid expansion and reform documents.


Source of News: 

Office of the Governor

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