The road to repealing Obamacare is a long road with many obstacles along the way from the replacement being not enough for Sen. Rand Paul or some GOP senators avoiding repealing Medicaid expansion for fear of losing their reelection.
So long as the Alaska state legislature votes to preserve their massive Medicaid expansion enacted under the implementation of Obamacare Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski refuses to vote to repeal it. However, it is understood that the Alaska state legislature was opposed to the Medicaid expansion initially, and it’s unclear whether they still want to keep it at all.
“Here in Alaska, some 27,000 Alaskans — about 28,000 actually — now have coverage for the first time. Which means that they have access to care for the first time. While I clearly have concerns about the expansion’s long-term costs, it has strengthened our native health system and reduced the number of uninsured that are coming into our emergency rooms. So as long as this legislature wants to keep the expansion, Alaska should have that option. So I will not vote to repeal it.”
However, Alaskan Gov. Bill Walker unilaterally expanded Medicaid in 2015 after the state refused to pass the expansion. Walker threatened also to veto any type of reform to Medicaid that did not further grow the program, so it is not the case that the state legislature wanted to preserve the program — they had no choice in the matter.
“We are not going to step away from this opportunity to help fellow Alaskans, period.”
Murkowski released the following statement on the matter:
The Affordable Care Act, quite honestly, has failed to deliver affordable care to many people in our state. Too many Alaskans are facing crushing premium hikes. All but one insurer has withdrawn from the marketplace. And unfortunately if you are part of the individual market, things are getting worse and not better.
And when we talk about the Affordable Care Act and where we go next, what we do, in the conversations that I am a part of and in the conversations that I am leading, I am insisting that there are elements of the ACA that must be saved, that must be preserved.
For example, we must continue to prohibit insurers from discriminating against pre-existing conditions. We must retain mental health parity. And we must allow those under 26 to remain on their parents’ insurance.