Legislators Urge Feds to End Medicaid Moratorium
Offer Ellis Bill as Vehicle for Comprehensive Solution
ANCHORAGE – Aug. 5, 2009Today 11 Senators and Representatives of both parties sent a joint letter to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the US Department of Health and Human Services asking her to lift the moratorium on new applicants to Alaska’s Medicaid waiver services in the wake of an unsuccessful audit by the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In recognition of the seriousness of the problems discovered by the CMS audit, and as a sign of their commitment to finding a long-term solution, the legislators noted an existing bill, Senate Majority Leader Johnny Ellis (D-Anchorage)’s Senate Bill 32, which partially addresses the issue and could be revised to encompass further changes if necessary.
“Home and community based services have long been proven to be the most cost-effective and least-restrictive form of care,” said Senator Ellis. “Unfortunately, over 2000 of Alaska’s most vulnerable citizens are put at risk while bureaucrats in Washington and Juneau look for a solution. We can work together to solve this problem, and continue to serve our elderly and disabled friends and neighbors.”
Senate Bill 32 passed the Senate on a unanimous vote, holds 12 co-sponsors from both parties in both houses of the Legislature, and awaits a hearing in the House Finance Committee when the Legislature returns to session in January.