Legislature(2003 - 2004)
2003-03-05 House JournalFull Journal pdf
2003-03-05 House Journal Page 0446 HB 172 HOUSE BILL NO. 172 by the House Rules Committee by request of the Governor, entitled: "An Act relating to eligibility requirements for medical assistance for certain children, pregnant women, and persons in a medical or intermediate care facility; and providing for an effective date." was read the first time and referred to the Health, Education & Social Services and Finance Committees. The following fiscal note(s) apply: 1. Fiscal, Dept. of Health & Social Services The Governor's transmittal letter dated March 5, 2003, follows: "Dear Speaker Kott: Under the authority of article III, section 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am transmitting a bill to "freeze" income levels for eligibility for Denali KidCare and for Medicaid under the special income limit for nursing homes and home and community based waiver services. Under current law, income standards for these eligibility categories increase every year by the amount of cost-of-living adjustments to the 2003-03-05 House Journal Page 0447 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program or the federal poverty guidelines. This bill will eliminate these annual cost-of-living adjustments and put in statute fixed dollar income levels for these programs based on the SSI standard that became effective on January 1, 2003 or the federal poverty guideline for Alaska that became effective on April 1, 2002. The next cost-of-living adjustment for Denali KidCare is scheduled to become effective on April 1, 2003. Therefore upon the July 1, 2003 effective date of this bill eligibility levels will be rolled-back by the 1.4% cost-of-living allowance implemented on April 1, 2003. For example, income eligibility for a family of three with children on Denali KidCare will decrease from $3,179 per month to $3,130 per month on July 1, 2003. The number of persons who lose eligibility on July 1, 2003 by virtue of this provision cannot be estimated with precision; but should be very small. For example pregnant women who establish eligibility between April 1, 2003 and June 30, 2003 will remain eligible for nine months notwithstanding the passage of this legislation. While the cost savings associated with this bill are modest in the short- term; this measure will significantly reduce future year costs. In this time of fiscal austerity, I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between maintaining health care coverage for lower income Alaskans while also addressing our need for fiscal restraint. I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure. Sincerely, /s/ Frank H. Murkowski Governor"