Engage TODAY: Alaska’s State Legislature Accelerating Towards an Iceberg [+video]

icebergBy Daniel Hamm. The GOP controlled Alaska State Legislature has been ideologically drifting for well over a decade in the isolated Juneau capital sea and is now in real danger of being holed and sunk by their very own constituent iceberg. Buffeted and tossed by lobby winds from every direction, their ship is on a collision course with a jagged sky-blue colossus protruding splintering shards with names like a balanced-budget, limited-government, and individual liberty.

For the last ten years the Republican Caucus has literally doubled the size of state government, and now with low oil prices, has a $3.5 Billion and growing annual state deficit on its hands largely of its own making. The Alaska GOP has forgotten the number one Republican axiom- that unrestrained growth in government is the number one threat to our American freedom and free market prosperity.

The Republican Party Platform supports limited-government and low taxes. For the past decade our GOP legislators have largely voted against it by steadily growing the size of our state bureaucracy to well over 24,000 state employees- and it keeps growing.

On April 1st, the Alaska State House passed HB 148 for Medicaid Expansion out of the Health and Social Services Committee and referred it to the House Finance Committee. Intense Democrat lobbying is now taking place to garner enough Republican turncoat votes to pass the Finance Committee and a full floor vote. This is all taking place despite the Alaska State Republican Party recently passing a resolution opposing Medicaid Expansion that was signed by Chairman Peter S. Goldberg. I guess this crop of legislators just take the party campaign contributions and then vote against it.

The Alaska Republican Assembly is an organization that that represents the Republican Wing of the Republican Party. Frankly, we are fed up with these turncoat Benedict Arnold’s masquerading like Republicans but vote like tax-and-spend socialists. As an example, two Republican State Legislators- Representative Paul Seaton from Homer and Senator Click Bishop from Fairbanks, have introduced bills for a state income tax rather than substantially reduce state deficit spending. They give the Republican Party Platform a black eye worse than Harry Reid’s.

Republican legislators who vote like Democrats really should consider changing their party affiliation and be true to their principles. Those who continue to campaign like Ted Cruz but vote like Ted Kennedy we have identified for early retirement. Those who hide behind the caucus rule that forces you to vote for a budget (regardless of what’s in it) or be ejected from your committee assignments and stripped of office staff will not be excused. Legislators must vote true to their constituents and true to their party.


Medicaid Expansion: A Pivotal Moment in Alaska History

When: Saturday, April 11, 1:00 PM Medicaid Expansion Public Testimony before the HOUSE Finance Committee. This needs to be opposed. We must stop Medicaid Expansion in House Finance today.

By Dr. Barbara Haney. This is a pivotal moment in Alaska’s history. If we vote for expansion, our state will forever be changed–not in a good way.

The Medicaid expansion bill has passed the Senate HSS committee and is now headed to Senate Finance. Thus, any emails you write to the House finance, you might want to simply include in the Senate Finance Committee. Share this with your friends.


1) We need you at your LIO to testify in opposition. (Call in for those without an LIO is 1-844-586-9085)

2) We need your letters of opposition. Email them to [email protected] Chaired by Steve Thompson and Mark Newman. You might as well include the Senate Finance Committee as well in your email, as they will be the issue shortly thereafter. The Senate Finance Committee members are [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

There is zero evidence that health is improved with Medicaid expansion. However, there is a lot of proof that states have gone deep into the hole over it.

Talking Points to Use: If you testify, you only get one or two minutes, so pick one or two topics you feel most comfortable with, and ask to revise and extend your remarks in email testimony.

1) Medicaid Expansion is the prerequisite for Obama Care. According to provisions of the PPA (better known as ObamaCare), Medicaid expansion is required to implement Obama Care. (Huffington Post story).

2) The DHSS Estimates Grossly Overstate the Benefits. After looking at the econometric estimates provided here in Juneau, it is pretty clear that there are many factors that have not been considered and that the benefits of Medicaid expansion are grossly overstated. Just for starters, they do not incorporate the impact of new taxes on the supply of providers and cost. Nor do they account for other issues pertinent to service delivery in Alaska. In the seven other states that have expanded Medicaid, costs on an average rose 88% above forecasted costs. This will likely be much higher in Alaska. The cost over-runs will do great harm to the Constitutional Budget Reserve– it will be depleted rapidly.

3) Crowd Out Of Most Vulnerable Populations: Current Medicaid recipients, such as the elderly, disabled, and those with children, will be reimbursed at 50%. The new expanded population will be reimbursed at 90%. If you are a physician, who are you going to take? Clearly the new medicaid patients will crowd out the old ones who are reimbursed at the new rate. Thus, those in most need will go to the end of the line if they are even served at all.

4) Taxes On Providers: House Bill 148 also imposes taxes on providers. For medical providers already operating at the margin (and many in Alaska are barely surviving), this could be the nail that closes their practice.

5) Medicaid is a big source of funding for Planned Parenthood. Early on, Twitchy covered how Medicaid expansion and PPA specifically rewarded Planned Parenthood. In addition, Planned Parenthood has a track record of fraudulent claims with Medicaid. American Life League has a page that details the extensive number fraud of lawsuits in Iowa, Texas, California, and Illinois. The Alliance Defense Fund’s Report to Congress in February 2012 details numerous details of fraud and abuse of Medicaid. Expansion would merely expand those opportunities in Alaska.

6) Doesn’t fix any of the current problems: According to Leg Audit in FY 2014, there are serious problems with many of the Medicaid system. The payment system (Enterprise, formerly MMIS) is broken. There are over 451 defects in the payment system documented as of August 2014. The Aries System, used for determining eligibility is also broker. Over half of the Medicaid providers certification files are incomplete. Nearly 2/3 of the providers lacked of any kind of evidence of rate verification, and important component in addressing costs.

7) Pre-Natal Common Core: It isn’t in the bill, but the Medicaid Expansion comes with grant opportunities for what is often dubbed Pre-Natal Common Core (This is what they have in Oregon). It is dubbed “Common Core” because it rides the “Informational texts” standards in English Language Arts for classroom delivery (these are in the reading standards) in the event a district or state does not adopt the National Sexuality Standards. Commissioner Hanley is a prolific grant writer– and you can bet he will go after those funds. We will be stuck with Pre-natal Common Core like they have in Oregon. That is the more radical form of Common Core– and it could explain why there are certain data elements related to a student’s mother in the Online Alaska School Information System (OASIS).

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