Walker: status quo on health care reform bill not an option

Gov. Bill Walker says that while work on the latest federal health care reform bill may have ended, the conversation on this matter must not, and that status quo is not a long-term option.

Walker’s comments on Sept. 26 came in the wake of a decision by Sen. Mitch McConnell, the U.S. Senate majority leader, to scrap a vote on the Republican’s latest plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act passed during the Obama administration. McConnell’s decision on Sept. 25 came after it became clear to GOP leaders that they would not have enough votes to pass the bill.

“More than 36,000 Alaskans have access to affordable health care thanks to Medicaid expansion and some health insurance premiums have dropped more than 26 percent due to the reinsurance program made possible through the innovation waiver granted by the Trump Administration under the existing health care law,” Walker said. “In a state where a medical emergency often means a $50,000 medevac instead of a $400 ambulance ride, it’s critical that affordable coverage is protected.”

Walker said the state worked with Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both R-Alaska, on getting the Trump administration to consider Alaska’s needs, and that he appreciated the administration’s numerous proposals with consideration for those needs.

“These concepts are sound policy for all high cost, low population states, and we hope these concepts will be incorporated in future health care discussions,” he said.