ANCHORAGE – Today Governor Mike Dunleavy unveiled his budget proposal that would have devastating impacts on Alaskans across the state. His budget includes dramatic cuts to Medicaid, and left the door open for rolling back Medicaid expansion in the future, which would take away health care from thousands of Alaskans and destabilize the state’s health care safety net. It is unconscionable that Dunleavy is proposing a 40 percent cut in Medicaid funding, which provides lifesaving health care to over 200,000 Alaskans, regardless of their zip code or their income.
Despite the fact that the federal government pays for 93 percent of Medicaid expansion costs, Dunleavy is taking a dangerous and short-sighted approach by casting doubt on the future of Medicaid coverage for nearly 48,000 Alaskans despite studies showing that health care investments end up paying for themselves. Not only does Medicaid bring health care to people with low incomes, but since 2015 expansion has also brought Alaska over $1 billion in funding from the federal government that Alaska could not have otherwise accessed.
Statement from Jessica Cler, Alaska State Director:
“From health care to education, Dunleavy's budget rolls back the progress Alaska has made in our health care and education systems over the last decade. Our message is very simple: we will not go back and we will not accept these attacks. There is no doubt that if the Dunleavy administration has its way, many families will face the excruciating choice of whether to seek medical care or pay their bills.
“Medicaid expansion has provided thousands of Alaskans with access to vaccines, cancer screenings, mental health services, and the ability to proactively manage their diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions. Studies have repeatedly shown that reducing access to preventive health care services only results in increasing costs and declining health. That is why we will continue to fight to ensure that every Alaskan, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they make, has access to quality, affordable health care.”
Medicaid expansion has also brought assistance to small businesses in Alaska, 65 percent of which do not provide health insurance to their employees. With consistent access to coverage, employees and their families have the reassurance that wherever they choose to work they will be able to address their health needs without entering into debt.
In addition to Medicaid cuts, Dunleavy’s proposed budget would slash funding for education, the University of Alaska system, and take away money from cities and boroughs across the state to balance his budget. This isn’t an “honest budget” as the Governor would like to claim, but rather shifting money away from Alaskans’ health care and education, especially harming those who live in rural communities. Planned Parenthood is committed to fighting back against this latest attack on the health care of Alaskans. It’s unacceptable that Gov. Dunleavy is choosing to make budget cuts on the backs of Alaskans.