As Enrollment Begins Slowly For Alaska Medicaid Expansion, White House Praises Governor’s Move
After some legal skirmishes with legislative critics, Alaska officials open up enrollment under Gov. Bill Walker's plan to expand the program for low-income residents. At the same time, Michigan has submitted its proposal for a waiver to federal officials to continue its Medicaid expansion program.
Alaska Dispatch News:
Alaska Health Offices Quiet On First Day Of Medicaid Expansion
Tuesday marked the first day for thousands of newly eligible Alaskans to enroll in Medicaid after Gov. Bill Walker expanded the program, but it was a quiet afternoon at a state office in Anchorage that handles applications. ... When asked if anyone had come in to sign up for the newly broadened health care program, a woman who sat behind the front desk said, “I haven’t had anyone yet today.” By some estimates, expanding Medicaid could provide health care coverage for about 40,000 Alaskans. The state Department of Health and Social Services has said it expects 21,000 Alaskans to sign up in the first year. (Hanlon, 9/1)
The Associated Press:
White House: Alaska's Medicaid Expansion 'Right Decision'
The White House on Tuesday praised the decision by Alaska Gov. Bill Walker to expand Medicaid to thousands of residents over the wishes of the Republican-led Legislature, calling it the "right decision." Alaska on Tuesday became the 29th state to expand Medicaid, opening up health care through what it calls the Healthy Alaska Plan to an estimated 20,000 low-income residents. (Thiessen, 9/1)
Kaiser Health News:
Patience, Persistence Serve Alaska’s Health Commissioner Well In Government – And In Fishing
Valerie Davidson has 50 people coming for dinner to her house in the remote western Alaska town of Bethel. She had planned to catch and cook enough salmon for the main course, but she’s hit a snag. Early in the morning, the state opened the Kuskokwim River to commercial fishing, which means subsistence fishermen can’t fish on it. So Davidson and I are ... stalking the free fish containers around town. That’s where state biologists deposit their test catches after they conduct their daily studies. We have been here for an hour, but Davidson is exceedingly patient and persistent. It’s a strategy she used as she worked to expand Medicaid in Alaska, as health commissioner. (Feidt, 9/2)
State Submits Waiver Request For Expanded Medicaid
The state of Michigan submitted a waiver request to the federal government Tuesday in the hopes that it can continue health care coverage for nearly 600,000 low-income residents under its expanded Medicaid program. In April, state officials said they worried the Obama administration might not grant a waiver on the health care cost-sharing requirements in its Medicaid expansion law — called the Healthy Michigan Plan. The state has been talking with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about the request and expects to restart discussions “in earnest” in the next two weeks now that the waiver has been officially submitted, said Nick Lyon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. (9/1)
Without Second Medicaid Waiver, Nearly 600,000 Michiganders Will Lose Coverage
The state of Michigan on Tuesday submitted its second waiver application to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which would allow the state's Healthy Michigan program to continue. ... The first waiver Michigan needed, approved in 2013, allowed for some of Michigan's unique ideas like required co-pays and income-based premiums. The second waiver would allow for a soft cap included in Michigan's law that asks people between 100 and 133 percent of poverty level to pay higher premiums or seek coverage on the exchange after being on Healthy Michigan for 48 cumulative months. (Lawler, 9/1)