Alaska legislature sues governor over Medicaid expansion

Alaska's legislature is suing Gov. Bill Walker (I) over his decision to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, according to The Hill.

After the Republican-controlled legislature blocked his initial efforts, Gov. Walker announced in July he would override the legislature and expand Medicaid on his own, according to the report. At the time, Gov. Walker said he had authority to do so and began a process in which he gave the legislature a 45-day notice of his plan. The expansion is set to begin Sept. 1.

Alaska would be the 30th and most recent state to expand the program.

However, the legislature is suing to block the expansion, deeming it an unconstitutional violation of separation of powers, according to the report.

"This is not a policy issue — we're not discussing whether we should or shouldn't expand Medicaid," Republican Senate President Kevin Meyer, told the Alaska Dispatch News, according to The Hill. "This is a question of authority and process and our constitution."

The case focuses on whether Medicaid expansion is optional. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not take away existing Medicaid funds if a state did not expand the program, but Gov. Walker's administration contends that ruling changed only the enforcement system, not whether expansion is mandatory, according to the report.

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