In 2014, the LAW requires everyone have HEALTH INSURANCE OR PAY PENALTIES.
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For the rest of us, Insurance companies pay Obamacare 3.8%
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Alaska has the highest health care costs in America, largely because of our unique geography, sparse population and associated transportation issues that drive up the cost of our medical care. ACA addresses Alaskans’ health cost issues in multiple ways. First, it significantly increases funding for local community health centers, many of which serve communities which are too small for a full size hospital. Secondly, ACA permanently authorized the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. Thirdly, ACA has important Medicare improvements..
According to the Kaiser Foundation, 69,301 Alaskans rely on Medicare. In the past, Medicare participants have paid high prices for prescription drugs through Medicare Part D. By “closing the doughnut hole,” the ACA has reduced prescription drug costs by 50 percent and will continue to reduce those costs. In addition, the ACA guarantees free preventive care for Medicare participants, which saves money for everyone by fixing medical issues before they become bigger and more expensive. Having increased access to preventive screening ensures that Alaskans don’t have to go without lifesaving tests such as colonoscopies, mammogram and other cancer screening tests because the cost of copay is too prohibitive. This early catching of disease also reduces the cost of treatment and potentially increases the lifespan of the Medicare program.Gov. Parnell’s Alaska Health Care Commission stated that “Alaska fares poorly when it comes to the cost of health care for our citizens.” The commission also noted that Alaskans’ per capita spending on health care is the second highest in the country. The biggest improvement for the Alaska health care system could be right around the corner, but Gov. Parnell refuses to accept the federal Medicaid funding provided under ACA and extend health coverage to 41,500 additional Alaskans. According to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Medicaid expansion would have a 28-to-1 return on investment for Alaska taxpayers. It is shameful for Parnell to block access to affordable health care to score partisan points, and it’s just as shameful for outside interest groups to think they know what’s best for Alaskans.
Alaska can’t afford increased prescription drug costs for seniors. We can’t afford to lose Indian Health Service programs that have extended health care to 29,000 additional Alaska Natives and American Indians. Insurance companies should not be allowed to cancel coverage when we get sick or refuse to provide it at all, as was the case before passage of ACA. The ACA is well-tailored for Alaska: It improves care in rural areas, permanently authorizes the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, and strengthens Medicare for Alaska’s seniors.
Mike Wenstrup, of Fairbanks, is chairman of the Alaska Democratic Party. He received a bachelor’s degree and then a law degree from the University of Notre Dame. He is a member of the Fairbanks Kiwanis club and the Fairbanks Elks club. He enjoys hiking, fishing and camping with his wife Annie and their dogs.Alaska Health Care Programs
|Location||Exchange Decision||Federal Approval Status||Structure of Exchange||Type of Exchange|
|Alaska||Default to Federal Exchange||NA||NA||NA|
Data are as of May 10, 2013.
Coverage through the exchanges will begin in every state on January 1, 2014, with enrollment beginning October 1, 2013. States can elect to build a fully state-based exchange, enter into a state-federal partnership exchange, or default into a federally-facilitated exchange. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish and operate a federally-facilitated exchange in any state that is not able or willing to establish a state-based exchange. In a federally-facilitated exchange, HHS will perform all exchange functions. States entering into a state-federal partnership exchange may administer plan management functions, in-person consumer assistance functions, or both, and HHS will perform the remaining exchange functions.