Letter: Opt for Medicaid expansion

Gov. Parnell has raised the banner of “Choose Respect” many times since he became governor but he chooses to not respect the wisdom of two unbiased, thorough studies on Medicaid expansion. The first study was done by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. The 38-page study noted that 41,500 individuals presently not insured would be eligible for coverage. The expansion would create approximately 3,500 new jobs by 2017. From 2014 to 2020, the cost would be $90.7 million but the state would receive $1.1 billion in federal funds, which more than offsets any costs.

The Alaska State Chamber of Commerce conducted a separate study. The cost savings achieved by insuring more Alaskans would allow them access to preventive care and decrease the demand for emergency room medical service (the most expensive care), which shifts the cost of unpaid bills to those Alaskans fortunate enough to have medical coverage.

Gov. Parnell, heed your own advice. “Choose Respect”; listen to the wisdom from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce!   

— Mike McCarthy