Medicaid expansion rolls out

The state began enrolling newly eligible residents in the Medicaid program today.

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That’s after the Alaska Supreme Court refused yesterday, to temporarily block the state from expanding Medicaid.

It was a victory for Gov. Bill Walker, who announced this summer he was expanding Medicaid without the approval of the Legislature.

Lawmakers sued after Walker announced he was going forward without their consent.

On Friday, Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner denied the request from lawmakers to halt expansion while a lawsuit moves forward. The Alaska Supreme Court on Monday agreed, saying lawyers for the lawmakers failed to show Pfiffner erred when denying the motion for a preliminary injunction.

The state expects about 20,000 low-income Alaskans, mostly childless adults, to sign up for health care under the first year of Medicaid expansion.