Gov. Dunleavy’s vetoes to health care funding
At the end of June, Gov. Dunleavy signed the state operating and mental health budgets and announced over $400 million in line item vetoes.
After his announcement, the Alaska Governor’s Council on Disabilities & Special Education released the following list of vetoes that could impact Trust beneficiaries — Alaskans with mental illness, developmental disabilities, chronic alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, or traumatic brain injury.
There will be a joint floor session on Wednesday at 11:30 am to allow legislators to vote for or against the governor’s operating budget vetoes.
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MEDICAID SERVICES: Vetoed -$50 million for “cost containment measures,” in addition to the Legislature’s reduction of -$86.6 million. An additional -$27 million was vetoed for the Medicaid Adult Preventative Dental benefit. Medicaid provides healthcare coverage for eligible Alaskans in need, including people with disabilities.
SENIOR BENEFITS PROGRAM: Vetoed -$20.7 million (100%) to eliminate all program funding. Funds offer monthly financial assistance to older Alaskans to help meet basic needs, such as food, shelter, fuel, medications, and transportation.
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH TREATMENT & RECOVERY GRANTS: Vetoed -$6.1 million, in addition to Legislative reduction of -$6.14 million. Total reduction: -$12.24 million (18.7%). Grants provide reimbursement to providers for mental health and addiction treatment services.
HOMELESS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM: Vetoed -$7.2 million state general funds, 88% of the program’s funding. Supports access to homeless prevention, rental and utility emergency assistance, emergency shelters, and rapid rehousing.
SPECIAL NEEDS HOUSING GRANT: Vetoed Legislative increase of $2 million state general funds. Grants support long-term rental assistance and permanent supportive housing for programs that target Alaska’s homeless population.
HUMAN SERVICES MATCHING GRANT: Vetoed -$1.387 million, 100% of state general funds. Grants provides resources to municipalities for food, shelter, and domestic violence services in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Mat-Su.
COMMUNITY INITIATIVE GRANTS: Vetoed -$861,700, 100% of state general funds. Grants provide resources to homeless shelters and food banks in communities outside Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Mat-Su.
EARLY LEARNING PROGRAMS: Vetoed -$8.8 million, 100% of state general funds for Head Start Grants, Early Childhood Grants, Best Beginnings, and Parents as Teachers. Early childhood programs provide opportunities for early identification and intervention for children with disabilities and behavior challenges.
COORDINATED TRANSPORTATION AND VEHICLES: Vetoed -$1 million, 100% of state general funds. Supports transportation needs of seniors and people with disabilities.
ACCESSIBILITY IMPROVEMENTS: Vetoed -$250,000 (100%) state general funds. Supports non-profit organizations that provide accessibility improvements, repairs, and upgrades.
HOME MODIFICATIONS TO RETAIN HOUSING: Vetoed -$750,000, 100% of state general funds. Supports home accessibility improvements for Alaskans with disabilities.
ADULT PUBLIC ASSISTANCE: Reduced funding by -$7.5 million state general funds. Provides financial support to elderly, blind, and disabled Alaskans for basic living expenses, such as food, rent, clothing, utilities.
NOME YOUTH FACILITY: Vetoed -$2 million state general funds. This reduction will close the facility, which provides detention, treatment, and probation services for justice-involved youth in Northwest Alaska.
THERAPEUTIC COURTS: Vetoed Legislative increase of $124,000 state general funds for additional staff to assist with statewide operations. Therapeutic Courts provide alternatives to incarceration for people with mental illness, addiction, cognitive disorders, and other disabilities.
PUBLIC DEFENDER AGENCY (PDA): Vetoed Legislative increase of $400,000 state general funds to address increased caseload. The PDA serves Alaskans without resources for defense in criminal matters, including Alaskans with mental illness, addiction, cognitive, and other disorders are more likely to utilize public defender services.
ALASKA CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES FUND: Vetoed all state funding for the program, which provides resources to low-income and indigent Alaskans for civil legal matters.
GOVERNOR’S COUNCIL ON DISABILITIES & SPECIAL EDUCATION (GCDSE): Vetoed exemption from proposed 50% travel reduction. Travel is often a meeting accommodation for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities whom the GCDSE serves.
OFFICE OF PUBLIC ADVOCACY (OPA): Vetoed exemption from proposed 50% travel reduction. OPA provides guardianship/conservatorship services for vulnerable Alaskans who are found by the court to be in need of a protective order.