- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The Latest on a lawsuit over Medicaid expansion in Alaska (all times local):

10:50 a.m.

A state court judge in Anchorage has heard arguments on a lawsuit challenging Gov. Bill Walker’s authority to expand Medicaid without legislative approval.

Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner said it was unlikely that he could get a decision out before the end of March.

The case was brought by Legislative Council, which is comprised of state House and Senate lawmakers. The key argument centers on whether the expansion population is a mandatory group for coverage under Medicaid or an optional group.

The lawsuit argues the expansion population is an optional group that cannot be covered unless approved by the Legislature.

An attorney for Walker argued Thursday that a U.S. Supreme Court decision didn’t strike down a provision expanding eligibility but limited the federal government’s ability to enforce that requirement.

___

2:15 a.m.

A state court judge is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging Alaska Gov. Bill Walker’s authority to expand Medicaid without legislative approval.

The case centers on whether the expansion population is a mandatory group for coverage under Medicaid or an optional group.

The case was brought by the Legislative Council, which is comprised of House and Senate lawmakers.

The lawsuit seeks to have Medicaid expansion without legislative approval struck down as unconstitutional. It’s unclear how that would play out should the Legislative Council prevail. About 8,000 Alaskans have enrolled since the expanded program launched Sept. 1.

Supporters of the lawsuit see it as a separation of powers issue. Some opponents see it as counterproductive and a waste of money.


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