May 16th, 2016  
Rep. Guttenberg's Legislative Report

Representative David Guttenberg
David Guttenberg

Medicaid Lawsuit Update

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

In March, the Superior Court of Alaska dismissed the lawsuit to stop Medicaid expansion, stating that Governor Walker acted within the boundaries of the law when he bypassed the legislature to go forth with the expansion.  Recently, the Legislature filed an appeal of that decision.  I do not support this action.

Alaska law stipulates that any decision to pursue litigation on behalf of the Legislature must be approved by a majority vote.   Furthermore, the fourteen member Legislative Council is only allowed to pursue litigation on behalf of the full Legislature during the interim, not during session.  The appeal was illegally filed with the Alaska Supreme Court.

Last week the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition sent a letter to the high-priced Washington D.C. law firm of Bancroft, PLLC asking them to not move forward with the appeal.  The governor’s decision last summer was legal and in the best interest of Alaskans.  It is simply counter-productive and too expensive to be spending state funds and time pursuing a $150,000 appeal, which comes on top of the $300,000 already spent.

Last week’s letter notes that the authorization given to Bancroft, PLLC was made by a small minority of legislators and was never presented to the full membership of the Alaska Legislature.  The letter stresses that Bancroft, PLLC is currently acting without the proper legal authority.

This session we have seen progress in Medicaid expansion with Medicaid reform legislation.  It was great to be a part of a Legislature that worked together to make the system more efficient for the thousands of people who are already benefitting from it.  It is my hope that we continue on that path to move past ideology, go about the process in a legal way, and to do what is right for Alaskans. 

[signed] David Guttenberg

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