On November 15, Gov. Sean Parnell (R-AK) announced he will not seek to expand Medicaid in his FY15 budget proposal. The governor cited the current and future Medicaid costs to Alaska and greater uncertainty about the federal government’s ability to pay its share as reasons for his decision.
Gov. Parnell noted that Medicaid is currently one of Alaska’s biggest and most costly government programs. At a cost of $1.5 billion per year, the program covers approximately 140,000 Alaskans, which averages to roughly $11,000 per Alaskan covered. By 2020, without the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, Alaska’s current Medicaid program costs are expected to grow from $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion. With the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, Alaska’s Medicaid costs are expected to dramatically increase.
On that same day, Gov. Parnell also announced the creation of an Alaska Medicaid Reform Advisory Group to address Medicaid’s structural issues and propose meaningful reforms to the State’s Medicaid program. The group will address three key reform mandates:
- Stability and predictability in budgeting;
- Increasing the efficiency of navigating the system by providers; and
- Providing whole care for the patient by uniting physical and behavioral health treatment.