Alaska Gov. Bill Walker’s Recession Puts Strains On Alaska’s Safety-Net Programs

The consequences of the “Walker Recession” is growing even more tragic for Alaska.

Under Embattled Governor Bill Walker’s failed leadership, Alaska now has the highest unemployment rate in the country. As many Alaskans struggle to find work in Walker’s economy, enrollment in the state’s safety-net programs have skyrocketed.

According to Walker’s own administration, enrollment in Medicaid next year is projected to increase 32% since 2015, while food stamp enrollment has increased 29% from only a year prior. This enrollment swell is further increasing worries about the state’s fiscal health. Alaska has already faced numerous credit downgrades because of the multi-billion dollar deficits Walker has run every year of his term.

As Walker gears up for his re-election campaign, it’s becoming clearer every day that Alaskans can’t afford four more year of his failed leadership.

Tens of thousands of people have turned to the government for health care and food amid Alaska’s recession, prompting questions from state lawmakers about the sustainability of those safety-net programs.

Gov. Bill Walker’s administration projects 240,000 people to be enrolled in the Medicaid health-care program next year, up from 163,000 in 2015. And 101,000 Alaskans were receiving food stamps in September, up from 72,000 a year earlier, according to preliminary federal data.

The federal government covers most of the cost of Alaska’s food stamp program.

But Medicaid — supported by both the state and federal governments — is one of the biggest line-items in Alaska’s budget, at about $700 million. And some conservative lawmakers say they’re worried about the growth in enrollment.