Gov. Parnell Reacts To Health Care Ruling

Governor Sean Parnell. Photo by Daysha Eaton, KSKA - Anchorage

Governor Sean Parnell says Alaskans stand to lose more freedom and pay more taxes with Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling largely upholding the federal health care overall.  Alaska was one of 26 states suing to overturn the Affordable Care Act. At a news conference this afternoon, Parnell said the state may have lost the battle, but isn’t going to stop fighting.

“This ruling should rally Americans to action and galvanize support for Congressional change,” Parnell said.

Parnell says the law is costly for Americans and unworkable. He says he hasn’t read the full decision and is still working to understand the scope of the decision and how it will impact Alaskans.

“As I think about the decision today I’ve basically come back to were going to get good information once we’ve reviewed the decision and I will work to shift back to the federal government those costs it is imposing on our citizens,” Parnell said.

The Supreme Court threw out the part of the law that essentially forces states to dramatically increase the number of people eligible for Medicaid. Under the law the federal government will fully fund that expansion in the first few years and mostly fund it after that. Parnell won’t say whether the state will opt out of the Medicaid expansion, but he says the state will consider it. He says he’s worried about the state’s share in paying for it.

“Over time, that 10 percent comes back to the state, so another $30 million a year roughly. But what’s to say that will not grow?,” Parnell said.

Parnell says the federal government has already significantly reduced the amount it is funding the current Medicaid program and he’s confident the same thing will happen with the expansion of the program.

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Annie Feidt is the Managing Editor for Alaska's Energy Desk, a collaboration between Alaska Public Media in Anchorage, KTOO Public Media in Juneau and KUCB in Unalaska. Her reporting has taken her searching for polar bears on the Chukchi Sea ice, out to remote checkpoints on the Iditarod Trail, and up on the Eklutna Glacier with scientists studying its retreat. Her stories have been heard nationally on NPR and Marketplace. Annie’s career in radio journalism began in 1998 at Minnesota Public Radio, where she produced the regional edition of All Things Considered. She moved to Anchorage in 2004 with her husband, intending to stay in the 49th state just a few years. She has no plans to leave anytime soon. afeidt (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8443 | About Annie