Gov. Parnell’s concerns with expanding Medicaid are well-founded in experience.
I served with the governor (then Sen. Parnell) on the Senate Finance Committee during the late 1990s when the State of Alaska faced massive budget shortfalls due to $10 per barrel oil. Following a five-year plan the Republican majorities actually cut operating budget spending for one of the first times in state history and saved Alaskans from massive new taxes or cutting Permanent Fund Dividends. But ridiculous federal laws that prevent states from reducing spending on federal programs once started (called “maintenance of effort” requirements) made that effort much more difficult. The new medicaid expansion has “promises” of funding for a limited time but creates similar dangerous future budget problems for states.
Let’s give Gov. Parnell a chance to find better solutions. Additionally, our congressional delegation should work to eliminate such oppressive federal spending requirements on the states.
— Dave Donley
member Alaska Legislature 1987-2002