Proper health care solutions will recognize the challenges that small businesses face with availability and affordability of coverage and the opportunities for individuals who, because of their occupations (e.g. commercial fishermen), pre-existing conditions, or exhaustion of lifetime limits, are without coverage.
I support the Medicaid expansion with the caveat of continued Federal funding at its current level — 4,000 new Alaska jobs would be created and lower-cost coverage for 40,000+ Alaskans would be provided.
It is a non-partisan belief that our health care system demands reform. The key to this reform is empowering patients and health care providers; not the government. In Alaska, one step in initiating this reform must be increasing the number of health care providers throughout the State. The shortage of doctors in Alaska is increasing faster than the national average and we have an obligation to end this disparity. We need to continue efforts by the State to attract health care workers, especially primary care doctors and mental health providers. Additionally, we need to implement innovative models to decrease the burdening cost of health care on both the State and individuals. This complex issue requires action that addresses immediate health care concerns while creating sustainable solutions for the future.
In agreement with the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce and other conservatives, I support the Medicaid expansion with the caveat of continued Federal funding. This is due to the sheer economics of Alaskans paying for the expansion in Federal taxes and increased premiums now that we have rejected the expansion. Moreover, 4,000 new Alaska jobs would be created and lower-cost coverage for 40,000-plus Alaskans would be provided and Alaskans have already paid for this coverage. By rejecting the expansion, Gov. Parnell supported the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by forcing uninsured Alaskans into ACA exchanges. As governor, I would reverse this and accept the Medicaid expansion.
In addition, we must restructure the State’s processes to ensure prompt payment of Medicaid claims to health care providers. The Parnell Administration has failed our health care provider community.
The State should work towards a more full partnership with the Tribal Health Organization. This is a strong system whose use is good for individual Alaskans and which reduces the cost of health care to the State.