(AP) — Average wait times for veterans seeking appointments at four Veterans Administration facilities in Alaska were below the national average, according to VA data for September through February.
Bowing to legislators’ requests, Gov. Bill Walker introduced legislation March 17 setting out a broad framework for reform of the state-managed Medicaid program and also expanding the program to provide health coverage to an estimated 40,000 uninsured Alaskans.
Legislators have now signaled they want to see efforts at reforming the Medicaid program before expanding it, a setback for Gov. Bill Walker’s major legislative initiative this year.
Medicaid expansion is taking on a partisan edge in Juneau, to no surprise. Hearings on the plan by Gov. Bill Walker opened Feb. 16 in a House Finance subcommittee. Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Valerie Davidson made the case for expansion, citing improved health care for Alaskans, lower near-term costs to the state budget, and lower costs for many employers if workers have better access to health care.