An expansion of Medicaid will usher in the necessity for new revenue streams in order to pay for this program. We are seriously looking at a substantial fiscal shortfall now. The last thing we need to do is to expand any programs which would put an extra financial burden on the citizens of this state. (“Alaskan Crossroads” continues below)
Listen to the Foundation for Government Accountability Skewer Governor Walker’s Medicaid expansion plan:
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Before we remotely consider expanding the federal Medicaid program, perhaps we should demand the federal government fully fund their own mandated health care programs.
As an example, the Indian Health Services through the BIA is currently being funded at approximately 55%. The inability of the federal government to fully fund a medical program they are 100% obligated to, is putting massive pressure on ANMC and native health services throughout the state. Currently ANMC is unable to field the personnel they need so many doctors and nurses in their organization are met with massive overtime and are not compensated at the level of other health services in the area. ANMC is having a very difficult time recruiting and training personnel to stay in their ranks specifically due to the shortcomings of funding through Indian Health Services.
Additionally, Medicaid expansion into the native community is clearly a mechanism to absorb the Indian Health Services into Obamacare. It is a method the Obama administration is using to drive up Obamacare numbers in order to preserve President Obama’s legacy with his signature legislation.
Certainly, it would be far more advantageous for the State of Alaska to demand that the Federal Government fund their own programs fully before they come selling other programs when they clearly intend to transfer the financial burden to us.
Here are just a few questions I would like every state legislator to answer before they consider voting to expand Medicaid:
1. Do you know the amount the State of Alaska will currently be forced to pay based on the shortfall?
2. Do you know the amount the State of Alaska will pay in two years when this program goes to 90% funded?
3. Do you know the rate of decrease over the next ten years regarding the federal government’s commitment?
4. Do you know the penalty of “opting out” if this program becomes economically unsustainable at a state level.
5. What additional revenues are you planning in order to meet the increased obligations?
6. Do you know this program may have an adverse effect on employers dropping healthcare on employees who qualify?
7. Do you know the rate Medicaid will pay and if medical institutions and doctors will accept patients at a lower level of reimbursement?
8. Are you aware of the substantial administrative costs passed to the medical profession in order to implement such program?
Any legislator who votes for expansion is voting to either implement a state income tax or raid the PFD in order to sustain this program. Their term in office may recede into the historical library of the legislature, but Alaskan’s will be forced into paying this government expansion of healthcare in perpetuity.
It is my considered opinion that expanding Medicaid in Alaska is a short sighted gain for a long term loss. Within a very short period Alaskans will be paying for additional revenues to comply to the federal mandate of matching funds. It will be economically impossible to “opt out.”
Michael Chambers is a former educator in Alaska, currently the Chair of the Alaska Libertarian Party, Chair of United for Liberty, and a self employed professional artist.