Have you ever walked in pasture and stepped in a cow’s contribution to the environment? You know how it sticks to your shoe? Well, that’s pretty much what the majority caucus of the Alaska Legislature did in its latest excuse for screwing 40,000 Alaskans out of Medicaid coverage.
According to the Alaska Dispatch News,
“With our current system, we cannot ensure Alaskans can enroll or providers can count on getting paid,” said Rep. Steve Thompson, R-Fairbanks, co-chair of the committee.
He then said the committee would not approve Medicaid expansion and would hold no more hearings, and adjourned without giving Democrats an opportunity to speak.
It came down like this. The majority caucus doesn’t like Medicaid expansion for the simple reason that Governor Walker, expostate Republican, does support it. Never mind that some 70% of Alaskans also support Medicaid expansion. Never mind that it put billions in Alaska’s pocket, and potentially reduces medical costs and heath insurance premiums for all of us. Nevermind that it’s even the right thing to do. No, Governor Walker supports it, along with the Democratic President of the United States. Which makes Medicaid expansion anathema.
So a reason had to be found to reject Medicaid expansion. The difficult was that there wasn’t one. So the majority caucus made one up. Invented it out of whole cloth. You see, the State of Alaska under Governor Sean “Captain Zero” Parnell changed vendors for the software that manages the state health insurance programs. The new vendor, Xerox, sumbled badly at the start. The Parnell Administration even brought a lawsuit against Xerox.
The effect of the lawsuit was make Xerox sit up and pay attention to its software’s deficiencies. And Xerox pretty much fixed them. The Alaska Department of Law told the Republicans the lawsuit seemed to persuade Xerox to make fixing the Alaska system a priority, and it now is working. But the majority caucus seized on the cured problem as a basis for not expanding Medicaid. There had been a problem, so that was used as an excuse.
It doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t have to make sense. No one in the the Administration – the folks who deal with the Xerox software – think it is any kind of a problem any longer. WC doesn’t even think the majority caucus thinks it is a problem.
But it does offer an excuse. A lame excuse, but it’s all they have. They’ve stepped in it. And now it’s stuck to their feet.