The Legal Issues on Expanding Medicaid in Alaska

In a Forbes article dated August 4, 2015, Josh Archambault and Jonathan Ingram discuss the legal box that Governor Walker is in regarding his efforts to expand Medicaid without going through the legislative process.  The governor is required to get the legislature’s OK before Alaska takes any new funding from the federal government.  The governor contends that this is merely an expansion of the existing Medicaid program.  However, the authors point out the following:

  • Alaska law prohibits the governor from expanding Medicaid to any “additional groups…unless approved by the legislature.”.
  • Governor can only provide Medicaid to either those individuals that the federal government already requires the state to cover in the current Medicaid program and to people who belong to one of 15 optional eligibility groups.

Medicaid expansion is not merely growing the current Medicaid program.  It is a new program per NFIB v. Sebelius per the U. S. Supreme Court.  Even the Commissioner of DHSS, Val Davidson, admitted that the governor would have to go through the legislature before accepting federal money for Medicaid expansion.  Here is a quote from the ADN of December 7, 2014 regarding the requirement for the legislature to accept the federal funds:

“We certainly hope that we can work with the Legislature,” Davidson said, adding that the Legislature’s support was ultimately necessary as it must approve the receipt of federal funding for the expansion.

Medicaid Exp Ohio












Here is a link to the Forbes article: