Twenty-five states can also thank Gov. Sean Parnell for choosing not to expand Medicaid in Alaska. Alaska currently has approximately $48 billion in an account, making it the wealthiest state government in the country. Gov. Parnell, on behalf of us all, has generously donated Alaska’s share of Medicaid expansion dollars to these 25 other states that have opted for it.
But please be aware young person (or any person) that Alaska turning down this money will not save you any money. On the contrary, the money you spend on health care premiums and health care costs are increased to cover uninsured patients. And uninsured people tend to eventually seek medical care in a more expensive way – through the emergency department and when their disease or medical condition has advanced to require more expensive care.
The Medicaid expansion is designed to provide health insurance to the working poor. It already covers the non-working poor. In Alaska, about 41,000 residents would benefit from expanded Medicaid. These are the people, typically employed in the service industry, who receive low wages with little or no benefits — people we all rely on for their services.
Opposition to Medicaid expansion for Alaska is not about the health and welfare of Alaskans. It is not about saving money. And the sudden concern for the national deficit, which is finally shrinking after the spending spree and debacles of the last decade, is ludicrous. It is a stubborn attempt to oppose anything President Barack Obama is for and to break the Affordable Care Act, sacrificing a few Alaskans along the way if necessary.