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House Health & Social Services Oversight Reps Comment on Gov's Medicaid Expansion Decision

Reps. Neuman and Higgins applaud governor for making difficult, financially sound policy call on latest Obamacare mandate

Friday, November 15, 2013, Big Lake, Alaska – The Alaska Representatives with direct oversight of the Dept. of Health & Social Services issued the following statement today about the governor’s decision not to expand Medicaid. The pair, Representatives Mark Neuman and Pete Higgins, agree with the governor that expanding Medicaid would place a potentially undue burden on future Alaskans should the federal government make cuts to its portion in the future.

Rep. Neuman, R-Su-Valley, chairs the House Finance Subcommittee on DH&SS, which oversees the department’s budget requests, and Rep. Higgins, R-Fairbanks, chairs the House Committee on Health and Social Services, which carries oversight of legislation and programs.

“Members of the House Finance Committee have spent this summer looking at the high cost of health care for Alaskans and have learned just how complex the issue is,” Neuman said. “I believe the Governor’s caution to not expand Medicaid is sound at this point. Passing the burden of health care on to our children is not an option. I applaud the Governor’s decision and will continue to work with the Administration on the right solutions.”

“As chairman of the House Health and Social Services committee I have heard numerous hearings and presentations about Medicaid cost in Alaska. Working closely with the House Finance Heath and Social Services Subcommittee I found those costs to be very concerning,” Higgins said. “I support the Governor’s decision not to expand Medicaid at this time. We owe it to our children not to put the burden of this on them and our future generations. I look forward to working with the various entities and the Administration as they put together their Advisory Group.”

Neuman’s budget subcommittee will continue its interim hearings Monday, Dec. 2, and Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the Mat-Su Legislative Information Office. Hearing details are available here. Live-streaming audio will be available at http://akl.tv.

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