Two Reports Highlight the Benefits of Medicaid Expansion as Legislature Continues Lawsuit to End It
A report commissioned by the State Legislature analyzing Medicaid expansion dismissed many of the concerns raised by State lawmakers who oppose Alaska's expansion as established by Governor Bill Walker (I) via executive order. Finding that expansion would not trigger a significant increase in non-expansion Medicaid enrollment (the so-called woodwork effect), the report notes that such increases have been seen in both non-expansion and expansion states and is more directly related to ACA implementation overall. The report also finds that the expansion population would not negatively impact the non-expansion population's access to services by monopolizing healthcare services. Finally, the authors find that expansion would lead to a net gain of $170 million annually for the State. The Legislature's lawsuit against the Governor's action begins oral arguments next week. A second report commissioned separately by the State Department of Health and Social Services made recommendations for Medicaid reform including: moving toward a payment model that rewards outcomes and efficiency; paying providers a per-patient care coordination fee; linking providers to each other and to a prescription drug database; and establishing accountable care organizations and managed care.