Alaska’s independent Gov. Bill Walker last week announced he would use his executive power to extend Medicaid eligibility to as many as 40,000 lowincome residents.
That put his state on track to become the 30th state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Walker unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the Alaska Legislature to expand the program, first through the state budget process and then with a free-standing bill. “This is the final option for me, I’ve tried everything else,” Walker said during a news conference. State officials estimate Alaska would draw $1.1 billion in additional federal funds over the next six years under the ACA by expanding eligibility to impoverished Alaskans.