JUNEAU (AP) — A state court judge in Alaska has upheld Gov. Bill Walker’s decision to expand Medicaid without legislative approval, finding that the federal Social Security Act requires Medicaid expansion.
Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner dismissed a challenge to Walker’s authority by a group of state legislators. That decision can be appealed.
A key argument in the case centered on whether the expansion population is a mandatory group for coverage under Medicaid or an optional group.
The lawsuit by the Legislative Council argued that it is an optional group that cannot be covered unless approved by the Legislature.
But Pfiffner disagreed and found that a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a penalty for not complying with expansion did not affect the requirement that states provide Medicaid to the expansion group.