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Senator Wielechowski Calls for Release of “Secret” Medicaid Report

Parnell Administration Violating Alaska Public Records Act

ANCHORAGE – Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) today called on the Parnell Administration to release a state-funded report on the costs and benefits of expanding Alaska’s Medicaid program with funding from the Affordable Care Act. 

  The report, prepared with nearly $80,000 in State funds by the Lewin Group for the Department of Health and Social Services, has been complete since April 12, 2013.  Several individuals and organizations have requested release of the report, including at least one news organization, but the Department has refused to release it.  This refusal violates the Alaska Public Records Act, according to attorneys with the non-partisan Legislative Legal Services Division.          

“The Parnell Administration is withholding critical information procured with public funds on the impacts expanding Medicaid will have on more than 40,000 uninsured Alaskans,” Senator Wielechowski said.  “Alaskans deserve to have this decision made on the best available facts - not based on partisan politics.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 41,500 low-income Alaskans would gain comprehensive medical coverage if the state expands Medicaid.  From 2014 to 2016, the federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost.  After that, the federal share would gradually lower until it reached 90 percent in 2020.  It would remain at 90 percent in subsequent years. 

Expansion of Medicaid would also bring $1.1 billion in new federal revenue to Alaska over the next seven years alone and create an estimated 4,000 jobs, according to a report commissioned by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.

“There is a lot at stake for Alaskans,” Senator Wielechowski said.  “This decision needs to be made in the light of day, not behind closed doors with information that’s being withheld from the public.”

He noted that Republican Governors across the United States are recognizing the benefits of expanding Medicaid.  Examples include Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, and Ohio Governor John Kasich.

“These conservative governors understand that expanding Medicaid benefits many of our most vulnerable neighbors and will improve the health of millions of Americans,” Wielechowski said.  “Governor Parnell should consider this when making a decision that will profoundly affect the health and wellbeing of so many Alaskans.”

To view Senator Wielechowski’s formal appeal under the Public Records Act to the Parnell Administration, click here:

http://alaskasenatedems.com/docs/092513_letter_Commissioner_Streur.pdf

To view the Administration’s denial of Senator Wielechowski’s August request as well as a copy of the Lewin contract with DHSS, click here:

                http://alaskasenatedems.com/docs/092613_contract_request.pdf

                http://alaskasenatedems.com/docs/092613_Fully_Executed_Contract.pdf

To view the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s Report, click here:

http://www.anthctoday.org/news/ANTHC%20Summary%20Report%202013-02-03v%20FINAL%20DRAFT%20dm.pdf

                For more information, contact Senator Wielechowski at (907) 242-1558 or (907) 321-1944.

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