On Friday, June 28, Governor Dunleavy announced over $440 million in cuts to the State of Alaska FY20 operating budget, including over $83 million in cuts to Medicaid services. The Medicaid reductions fully eliminated adult dental coverage ($27 million), reduced over $6 million in behavioral health programs, and cut $50 million in health coverage. This was in addition to the Legislature’s already implemented cut of $70 million.
These deep cuts will mean the cost of travel for adult dental and certain behavioral health services for customers in our service area will no longer be covered by Medicaid. This will effectively deny access to healthcare for many YK Delta residents who live in our 50 villages, that are tens to hundreds of miles away from the Bethel hospital. Over the next year, as the Department of Health & Social Services begins the process of implementing these cuts, YKHC customers will likely find that there are numerous other services no longer covered by Medicaid. Sadly, at this time, there is no way to determine what rate or service has been cut.
On Monday, July 8, the Alaska Legislature is preparing to begin a second special session and is able to override the Governor’s vetoes if they can obtain 45 votes (out of 60 votes) in a joint session of the House and Senate. I encourage you to voice your opinion to the governor and your legislators. You can easily send a message to your elected officials at the following link: https://www.akleg.gov/poms/message.asp
YKHC will actively monitor the upcoming second special session and communicate the most comprehensive information about impacts to services as we know them.