Alaskans Testify On Governor’s Medicaid Expansion Bill

Lawmakers took public testimony for the first time Thursday on Governor Bill Walker’s bill to expand Medicaid. The public spoke during the last 30 minutes of the House Health and Social Services committee’s hearing on HB 148.

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Nearly everyone spoke in favor of Medicaid expansion. The committee heard from a youth pastor, a small business owner and the head of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association.

Juneau resident Alyson Currey told the committee she is a social worker who too often sees clients who have to make do without health care:

“It is an injustice to me that today if you’re a childless adult without a disability in Alaska making less than $20,000 a year, which equals to just under $10 an hour, you have no affordable health care coverage available to you.”

The Committee plans to spend a lot more time taking public testimony on Medicaid expansion at a hearing this Saturday, starting at 3pm.

Most local Legislative Information Offices will be open around the state to allow people to testify outside of Juneau.

This story is part of a reporting partnership between APRN, NPR and Kaiser Health News.

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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