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Alaska governor says will accept federal funds to expand Medicaid

By Steve Quinn JUNEAU, Alaska (Reuters) – Alaska’s governor said on Thursday he would use his executive powers to expand the state’s Medicaid health program for the poor, in a bid to sidestep political opponents and bring coverage to more than 20,000 uninsured residents the first year. Governor Bill Walker said Alaska would accept $146 million in federal funds made available under President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform law, citing nearly 30 other states that have expanded Medicaid coverage. “(They) have already made the commonsense decision to accept Medicaid expansion.

New Jersey Governor Christie ducks media after vaccination comments

By Sam Wilkin LONDON (Reuters) – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a possible 2016 presidential contender, cancelled three scheduled media appearances in the UK on Tuesday, amid a controversy over his comments on measles vaccinations. His comments came a few hours after President Barack Obama said parents should have their children vaccinated, saying the science was “pretty indisputable.” Christie cancelled two question-and-answer sessions and a press statement he was due to make after meeting UK finance minister George Osborne. “We just decided we're not going to have availability today,” said Maria Comella, Christie's head of communications, after the last scheduled appearance was cancelled.

Obama tells parents to get kids vaccinated to stem measles

President Barack Obama is urging parents to get their children vaccinated in the face of a measles outbreak that has infected more than 100 people in the United States. In excerpts from an interview with NBC News that will air on Monday, Obama said measles was a preventable disease. He said that while he understood there were families concerned about the effect of vaccinations, he said the science was “pretty indisputable.” “We’ve looked at this again and again. There have been 91 measles cases in California, with at least 58 of those epidemiologically linked to a cluster that began at Disneyland in December.

U.S. military pay reforms could save $12 billion yearly: panel

By David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A congressionally appointed panel on U.S. military compensation recommended overhauling retirement and healthcare benefits on Thursday to improve services offered to troops and families while cutting costs by up to $12.6 billion annually. The nine-member panel, including former military leaders and lawmakers, recommended the Pentagon broaden its retirement benefits to provide 401(K)-style savings plans for most service members while retaining a slimmed-down version of its current 20-year retirement plan. It also recommended reforming the health system for military families and younger retirees, replacing much of the current Tricare system with commercial insurance that would improve access to care. The report’s release drew a muted response, with President Barack Obama and other senior leaders thanking the panel and promising to study its findings.