Alaska News

Alaska lawmakers approve $350,000 for Medicaid expansion, reform consultant

An Alaska legislative committee on Thursday approved a contract capped at $350,000 with a Virginia-based consulting firm that will study expansion and reform of the Medicaid health care program.

The Legislative Budget and Audit Committee on Thursday approved the hiring of The Menges Group, which says it works on "strategic health care policy." The firm's CEO, Joel Menges, formerly worked for the Lewin Group, another consulting firm that studied Medicaid expansion for the administration of former Gov. Sean Parnell. Parnell opposed Medicaid expansion in Alaska.

The committee also approved increasing what it would pay for a performance review of the state education department after nobody bid on an initial request for proposals. The potential payment for the review will be raised to $215,000 from $175,000.

And two existing contracts for two legislative oil and gas consultants, Nikos Tsafos and Janak Mayer, were merged into one contract for their company, Enalytica, at no additional cost to the state. Their contracts were not to exceed $200,000 apiece.

Nathaniel Herz

Anchorage-based independent journalist Nathaniel Herz has been a reporter in Alaska for nearly a decade, with stints at the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Public Media. Read his newsletter, Northern Journal, at