Gov. Walker expresses concern regarding Graham-Cassidy health care bill

Published: Sep. 21, 2017 at 5:24 PM AKDT
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What's it going to cost and how many Alaskans are going to be impacted? Those are questions Gov. Bill Walker and Alaska's senators are trying to answer before they decide whether to support the GOP's latest proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

"It's the uncertainty that's a concern to me, and I can't sign on to something that has as much uncertainty as it has right now," said Gov. Walker.

Governor Walker has expressed concerns regarding conflicting data, a hurried process to get the partisan bill passed through the senate, and a lack of confidence that the bill is good for Alaska.

"I can't support a bill that I'm not convinced doesn't hurt Alaskans, and if it hurts Alaskans, I can't support it," Walker said.

The Department of Health and Social Services is in the process of analyzing the so-called Garham-Cassidy health care bill to determine the exact impact it will have on Alaska.

The Garham-Cassidy legislation includes proposed cuts to Medicaid funding. In Alaska, that means roughly 190,000 people, including more than 87,000 children currently covered by Medicaid, could lose coverage.

Governor Walker says he has maintained an open dialogue with Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan as they all seek to collect more information before making a final decision on the latest health care bill.

Senators who support the most recent health care bill back the idea of giving federal money to each state, allowing them to develop their own health care system.

A spokesperson for Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell says a vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill could happen as early as next week, but before that happens a few things need to take place, including a congressional budget office score on the bill.