Parnell to discuss Medicaid expansion

JUNEAU — Gov. Sean Parnell is expected to announce whether Alaska will move forward with Medicaid expansion under the federal health care law.

Parnell has scheduled a Friday news conference in Anchorage.

Democratic state lawmakers have urged Parnell to expand Medicaid, as have U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and a list of organizations, including chambers of commerce and advocacy groups.

Parnell in February said he opposed expansion given concerns with whether the federal government would uphold its promise on funding but said he would continue studying the issue.

Starting Jan. 1, the law expands Medicaid eligibility to people making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line.

The federal government is expected to cover the cost of expansion the first three years and the bulk of the cost indefinitely, with states contributing.

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