It’s not just the costliest forest fire season in America in 2019 that has driven the supplemental budget past $262 million.
It’s the residual effect of the Obamacare expansion under Gov. Bill Walker, whose Administration brought Alaska two types of Medicaid expansion — one where the federal government would pay 90 percent of the cost, and the other where the federal government would only pay 50 percent, with the State picking up the other 50 percent.
That 50-50 expansion is causing continued and unsustainable growth in state Medicaid.
Under Walker, a concerted effort was made to sign up the “50-50” population along with the “90-10” population.
Walker succeeded in his mission of signing Alaskans up. In 2013, 122,334 Alaskans were on Medicaid. By 2018, that number had burgeoned to 209,000 people.
Today, Medicaid pays for 220,690 Alaskans’ medical bills. There is no cap on the expenditures.
The legacy of the Obamacare expansion in Alaska has cascaded on this year’s state treasury, and the the supplemental budget shows just how much Medicaid expansion is now stressing state resources. Medicaid add-on expenses are nearly half of the supplemental request:
- $110.5 million in State funds to cover expenses following last summer’s devastating wildfires in the Southcentral and Interior regions of the state
- $3 million in State funds for infrastructure repairs from the 2018 Cook Inlet Earthquake
- $128 million in State funds for Medicaid services
- $6.7 million in State funds to hire new Alaska State Troopers, Wildlife Troopers, and purchase Trooper equipment
- $1 million in State funds for the Pioneer Home Payment Assistance Program
- $6 million in State funds to achieve full capacity at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute
- $12.050 million in Marine Highway receipts for the Alaska Marine Highway System
Last year’s supplemental appropriation was $73.1 million. This year, it’s $262.5 million, with the lion’s share going to forest fires and Walker Medicaid expansion.