Denali Kid Care Expansion Falls in Senate

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

A bill expanding the 14-year-old Denali Kid Care program failed on a tie vote in the Senate Wednesday.  Denali Kid Care provides medical services to the children of lower-income families and to low-income pregnant women.    The measure by Anchorage Democrat Bettye Davis replaced a bill the governor vetoed last year because he said it paid for abortions.

Six Senators who voted for the measure last year, voted against it today.

In presenting the bill, Davis said by opening participation in the program to those with twice the federal poverty level, it would provide health care for nearly 1,300 more children and about 250 pregnant women.  She said the abortion issue needs to be dealt with separately.

Davis said expanding the program might provide funds for as many as 22 more abortions.

Eagle River’s Fred Dyson said, while the health care program has merit, he cannot avoid looking at the trade off between healthy kids and abortions.

But Republican Lesil McGuire came to the opposite conclusion, supporting the program.

The final vote showed all but one of the Senate’s Democrats in favor of the bill – and all but one of the Republicans opposed to it.

Senator Davis asked for a reconsideration of the measure – meaning it could come up for another vote before the end of the session.

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