Alaska to expand Medicaid despite objections from state lawmakers

Alaska Governor Bill Walker (I) won a legal battle Aug. 28 that will allow the state to expand Medicaid beginning next week despite protests from state legislators, according to The Washington Post.

Gov. Walker previously asked Republican state legislature to approve a Medicaid expansion plan that would allow 41,000 more residents to join the program. After lawmakers resisted, Gov. Walker announced in July he would bypass the legislature and accept federal money to expand Medicaid, effective Sept. 1.

Alaska's legislative council sued the governor last week as part of an attempt to block the expansion, claiming that only the legislature had the authority to decide who was eligible for the program, according to the report.

On Friday, Superior Court Judge Frank A. Pfiffner denied the request, stating that the legislators who objected to Medicaid expansion failed to prove doing so would cause the state "irreparable harm," or that Gov. Walker had exceeded his authority. Judge Pfiffner said he expects his decision will be appealed to Alaska's Supreme Court, according to the report.

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