Revised ObamaCare repeal bill aims benefits at Alaska

Revised ObamaCare repeal bill aims benefits at Alaska
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The revised version of Republicans' ObamaCare replacement bill includes several provisions that specifically benefit Alaska, in what could be aimed at winning over the crucial vote of Alaska Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — VA reform bill heads to Trump's desk Senators introduce bill to measure progress in opioid fight MORE (R). 

"The basic theme of the redistribution [of funds] seems to be how many different ways you can spell A-L-A-S-K-A," Timothy Jost, a professor at Washington and Lee University, wrote in Health Affairs Blog. 
 
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Murkowski has not yet said how she will vote. She says she is studying the measure's impact on Alaska. 
 
The revised bill, released Monday, increases the federal share of Medicaid funding for states with separate poverty guidelines because of their high levels of poverty. That translates to an increase in Medicaid funding only for Alaska and Hawaii, experts said. 
 
The new draft also increases spending on the block grants in the bill for "low density" states with high health costs, a category that only includes Alaska and North Dakota, according to the office of Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidySenate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA GOP, Dem lawmakers come together for McCain documentary Graham working on new ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (R-La.), a sponsor of the bill. 
 
The measure includes $500 million in 2020 for states that have obtained certain waivers under ObamaCare, a category that only includes Alaska, Hawaii and Minnesota, according to Jost. 
 
And there is a special contingency fund of $11 billion for 2020-2021, 25 percent of which must go to low density states, including Alaska, according to Jost. 
 
Still, even with these changes, state-by-state estimates circulated by supporters of the bill find that Alaska would see slightly less federal funding under the bill compared to under ObamaCare. 
 
The core elements of the bill, which tend to take money from states that expanded Medicaid, such as Alaska, remain the same in the new bill. 
 
"The overall structure of the bill remains the same," said Robin Rudowitz, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation.