The recently released Department of Health and Social Services report on Alaskans in the Medicaid “gap” is misleading. If its goal was to reduce the appearance of uncovered Alaskans (it concludes that 10,000 to 12,000 Alaskans are without access to health care), it accomplishes that well enough.
However, the governor announced last November (ADN, 11/15/13), while ostensibly citing the Lewin Group study commissioned by his own administration, that the number of uninsured Alaskans who would be covered by Medicaid expansion was properly pegged at 26,000 citizens. Now his commissioner reports it’s as few as 10,000. Note that the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium concluded that 41,000 Alaskans and their providers would benefit, at least in part, from Medicaid expansion.
The administration can cite any report it wishes. It can ask for a third report. None of this changes the fact that, at no cost to Alaskans, the administration chose to waive the right of thousands of Alaskans to free health care. Instead, Alaskans get the privilege of paying for other Americans’ coverage under the program.
— Andrew Josephson
Anchorage Daily News