From my time growing up in the region, I have learned that like most Alaskans, residents in District 38 want healthy and vibrant communities that can provide access to quality education, support services, and economic opportunities. I have heard many community leaders and residents in the region express how important it is to protect programs that help us improve and maintain our quality of life.

Health and social service programs protect Alaska families in so many ways -- providing programs that help Alaskans remain in the workforce or get back into it, ensuring the welfare of our children and offering mental health resources needed across the state.

Affordable, comprehensive healthcare should be accessible to every Alaskan. Eligibility, cost and access should not be barriers. Medicaid provides funding essential for residents in our rural district to travel to healthcare centers in Bethel and Anchorage to receive advanced medical care to protect life and limb.

In addition to offering much needed resources for health services, investing in Medicaid and health programs diversify Alaska’s economy. According to the Foraker Group’s 2018 report on Alaska’s Nonprofit Sector, up to 40% of all employment in rural Alaska is in the nonprofit industry. In particular, Foraker Group found that healthcare nonprofits generate the most revenue and jobs within the nonprofit sector. For this, and so many other reasons, we must protect funding for programs like Medicaid.