Linda Nelson (in wheelchair) and her husband Rodney Nelson hold signs in a demonstration by supporters of women’s health organization Planned Parenthood and opponents of the U.S Senate healthcare bill known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act on Thursday, July 6, 2017 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion)

Linda Nelson (in wheelchair) and her husband Rodney Nelson hold signs in a demonstration by supporters of women’s health organization Planned Parenthood and opponents of the U.S Senate healthcare bill known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act on Thursday, July 6, 2017 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion)

Residents rally for health care

Linda Nelson and her husband Rodney Nelson were among those who turned out in Kenai on Thursday to hold signs in a demonstration by supporters of women’s health organization Planned Parenthood and opponents of the U.S Senate healthcare bill known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

Linda Nelson, a stroke victim who has difficulty moving and speaking, is among the 185,139 Alaskans who receive health coverage through Medicaid, according to a May 2017 report from the program’s state administrators, the Department of Health and Social Services. Rodney Nelson said Linda relies on Medicaid for mobility and home care, without which he would have to take on a full-time role as her caregiver.

The draft of the BRCA before the U.S Senate would replace the present uncapped expenditure of Medicaid funds, split 50-50 between state and federal governments, with a fixed amount for each Medicaid user paid to states from the federal government. Combined with an incremental withdraw of federal funding for the 33,945 Alaskans who gained Medicaid coverage when the state expanded the program in September 2015 (a population 95 percent covered by federal money), the bill would result in $3.1 billion less in Medicaid funding to the state by 2026, according to a DHSS analysis. To keep its current Medicaid coverage, the state would need to spend an additional 13 percent — about $1.2 billion — between fiscal years 2020 and 2026, DHSS calculated.

U.S Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan are among the Republicans who have not committed to voting for the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which would require 52 votes from the Senate’s narrow Republican majority to become law. Some of the signs that Thursday’s demonstrators held specifically urged Murkowski to oppose the bill with the slogan “Stay strong, Lisa.” Murkowski and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) plan an amendment to remove another provision of the Better Care Reconciliation Act that would defund Planned Parenthood for a year.

Reach Ben Boettger at ben.boettger@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander speaks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Kenai Municipal Airport on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. A kiosk that will offer educational programming and interpretive products about the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is coming to the airport. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsua Clarion)
Wildlife refuge kiosk coming to airport

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge stickers, T-shirts, magnets, travel stamps and enamel pins will be available.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
5 more COVID deaths reported

The total nationwide fatalities surpass population of Alaska.

Velda Geller fills goodie bags at the Kenai Senior Center on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021 for next weekend’s drive-through trick-or-treat event. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘This has been a lifesaver’

Seniors seek human connection as pandemic continues.

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
‘A very slippery slope that we need to be careful of’

Approval of library grant postponed after Kenai council requests to preview book purchases

This undated photo released by the Alaska State Department of Public Safety shows Robin Pelkey just before her 18th birthday. The remains of a woman known for 37 years only as Horseshoe Harriet, one of 17 victims of a notorious Alaska serial killer, have been identified through DNA profiling as Robin Pelkey, authorities said Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Alaska State Department of Public Safety via AP)
DNA match IDs serial killer’s victim after 37 years

Robin Pelkey was 19 and living on the streets of Anchorage when she was killed by Robert Hansen in the early 1980s, investigators said.

A moose is photographed in Kalifornsky, Alaska, in July 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Illegal moose harvest down from past 5 years

The large majority of moose this year were harvested from North and South Kasilof River areas.

Renee Behymer and Katelyn Behymer (right) of Anchorage win this week’s vaccine lottery college scholarship sweepstakes. (Photo provided)
Dillingham and Anchorage residents win 6th vaccine lottery

“Get it done,” one winner said. “Protect us all, protect our elders and our grandchildren.”

Most Read