Democrats propose Medicaid expansion

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — House and Senate Democrats are proposing legislation that would expand Medicaid coverage in Alaska after Gov. Sean Parnell last year refused calls to do so.

The bill, being introduced in the House Thursday and the Senate Friday, would extend eligibility to those up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line. State participation would be contingent upon the federal government paying at least 90 percent of costs.

Sen. Bill Wielechowski called the proposal "commonsense, no-brainer" legislation.

Parnell in November declined to expand coverage, citing cost concerns.

Sen. Berta Gardner said even if the feds reneged on promised funding and the program only lasted a few years, it would allow people time to address health care needs they couldn't take care of before.

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