Lawmakers to discuss legal questions surrounding Medicaid

  • Monday, August 17, 2015 10:34pm
  • News

JUNEAU (AP) — A legislative committee plans to meet Tuesday to discuss whether to challenge Gov. Bill Walker’s plan to expand Medicaid in Alaska.

A point of contention has become whether the thousands of lower-income Alaskans who comprise the expansion population are a mandatory group for coverage or an optional group.

The federal health care law expanded eligibility for Medicaid, but the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 said states could not be penalized if they didn’t participate in expansion.

Some read the court’s decision as meaning the expansion population is optional and that legislative approval therefore would be needed to add the expansion group.

Walker in July announced plans to accept federal money for expanded Medicaid after legislators tabled his expansion bill for further review. The targeted expansion rollout date is Sept. 1.

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