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Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth has decided the 49th state should stay out of the fight over the Affordable Care Act because it’s unclear which side to join.

Texas led 19 Republican states in filing a February lawsuit against what is popularly known as Obamacare. New Jersey on Monday took the point for 15 Democrat states asking to intervene in support of the federal law.

Alaska is among the handful of states avoiding what is shaping up as the legal battle of 2018.

This an election year in the 49th state, as well, and Obamacare is a tricky political issue. A loser in the 2010 Republican primary, Gov. Bill Walker teamed with Democrat Byron Mallott to win the 2014 election with 48 percent of the vote.

Alaska, however, remains a red state, and it was asked by Texas to join the suit, according to the Department of Law. Had the state done that, Walker would have risked alienating a solid block of Democrats who stood by Mallott when he stepped down as the 2014 Democrat candidate for governor to join Walker as lieutenant governor on a so-called “Unity” ticket.

Joining with Democrat states supporting Obamacare would likely have amounted to political suicide for Walker in the conservative state of Alaska. But Lindemuth, according to her official spokesperson, Marie L. Bahr, solved the problem.

“While many considerations go into this kind of decision, the AG alone made the decision to pass, primarily because the impacts from any decision on the Alaska health care market, and individual Alaskans, were largely unknown,” Bahr said in email.

Other states appear to have had less trouble sorting things out.

 Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum called the Texas lawsuit an “assault on our people and our health care system.” Oregon, a blue state, joined the D-team.

 

Everything is politics

Anchorage attorney Don Mitchell, a sometimes political commentator for the Huffington Post and an advocate for Alaska voters electing an attorney general, wasn’t quite buying the Bahr story, and he used some off-color language in describing the situation.

“There is a reason that well more than 40 states elect their attorneys general, rather than, as is the situation here, having the AG be the whore of whatever governor at whose pleasure he or she serves,” he said.

Mitchell went on to list a number of questionable decisions made in past years by attorneys general working for late Gov. William Egan, late Gov. Wally Hickel and iconic late Gov. Jay Hammond.

“In 1980, Jay cooked up the idiotic idea of annually giving every Alaskan out of the permanent fund $100 for each year that he or she had lived here,” Mitchell said. “Any first year law student could have told Jay that was flagrantly unconstitutional. But (attorney general) Av Gross signed off on it because Jay wanted him to. So (Ron) Zobel had to go all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court to correct the error.”

Zobel v. Williams (Williams being Commissioner of Revenue Tom Williams) became a landmark Alaska lawsuit. The Supreme Court ruled that giving Alaska residents bigger or smaller dividends based on how long they’d lived in the state violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Ever since, Alaskans have all received the same dividend. Mitchell is of the belief that Gross wasted a lot of state money, and delayed the first PFD payments to Alaskans, by playing politics instead of following obvious law.

“And now, in the run-up to the 2018 gubernatorial election, Jahna Lindemuth professes to be a disinterested agnostic regarding the Texas Barry Obamacare lawsuit, in my view of it for no reason other than that, because of the grief they took from the (MatSu) Valley and Fairbanks over Medicaid expansion, Walker and Mallott don’t want to remind voters of that prior to the election,” he said.

Medicaid has cost the financially strapped state about $100 million with costs expected to continue to grow, but there were solid political underpinnings for Walker’s decision to expand Medicaid. Nearly 200,000 Alaskans take advantage of the program.

The number of Alaskans affected by Obamacare is about a tenth of that.

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One  Alaskans story

Reached on Saturday by telephone, Eagle River’s Ray Jakuczak had no trouble defining his view on what the Obamacare issue in Alaska. The former state pipeline coordinator, Jakuczak offered a very blunt opinion on what is wrong in the state in general.

“The corruption in the Department of Law is staggering,” he said.

An Alaskan who has found Obamacare insurance costs onerous, he is of the opinion the Department of Law is driven largely by politics. As pipeline coordinator, he said, state attorneys advised him to perform legally questionable acts and “not ask questions” in order to follow political directives.

Since leaving state service, he said, he’s seen nothing to convince him anything has changed.

Jakuczak was featured in a story in Roll Call magazine story last year that focused on Alaska’s attempt to shore up the Affordable Care Act with a reinsurance program.

“Under Alaska’s program, people who suffer from 33 relatively expensive conditions, like end-stage renal disease, hemophilia or cerebral palsy, would still buy their plan from the state’s Blue Cross plan, Premera, and pay the same premiums as anyone else who relies on HealthCare.gov.,” Roll Call reported. “But behind the scenes, their health care claims would be paid out of a $55 million state pool of reinsurance money, rather than Premera’s own funds.”

Roll Call reported the scheme saved almost $10,000 in premiums for Jakuczak and his wife. Jakuczak said that left them paying $2,600 per month for a policy with a $10,000 deductible.

Adding up the monthly payments and the huge deductible, they realized they’d have to spend $41,200 out-of-pocket before insurance started picking up any of their medical costs.

Jakuczak is semi-retired, but does some consulting. His wife is a veterinarian. Before the Affordable Care Act became law, he said, the couple obtained health insurance through the American Veterinary Medical Association at a reasonable rate.

But costly mandates tied to the federal program caused New York Life Insurance to end its agreement with AVMA and thousands of veterinarians were left to look for insurance elsewhere.

The Jakuczaks were left with the Affordable Care Act and health insurance costs higher “than any other expense in their budget. Now, despite his deep love for his mountain views and his local coffee shop, he’s thinking about moving south,” Roll Call’s Erin Mershon wrote.

The Jakuczaks, however, stayed – sort of.

Ray said they ended up buying a second home in the lower 48 and splitting their time between two residences. They then bought health insurance in the Outside state.

“The insurance costs are half,” he said, and the deductible is lower.

Jakuczak is not a fan of the Affordable Care Act and criticized Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, for repeatedly voting against the act when it didn’t matter, and then voting to keep the act when there was a vote that counted.

As a political issue in Alaska, Obamacare is something easily ignored by politicians. The Act’s constituency is small. The Jakuczaks are two among fewer than 20,000 Alaskans taking advantage of the program.

Employee insurance

Most Alaskans are covered by some sort of insurance provided by their employers. Hundreds of thousands more a covered by free or heavily subsidized federal health programs: Medicaid, Medicare and the Indian Health Service.

Because of this, only 18,313 people – down from 19,145 last year – applied for ACA insurance for 2018, according to the state health insurance exchange.

Alaskan participation in the program has been falling almost since it began. Why is unclear. It could be due to people leaving the state, but Lori Wing-Heier, director of the state Division of Insurance, last year told Roll Call that some working people just can’t afford the insurance rates.

And that has happened despite the state effort to bail out the program with the $55 reinsurance scheme, which was driven in party by a desire to keep Premera – Alaska’s last private insurer – from abandoning the state.

Most of the people utilizing Obamacare in Alaska qualify for federal insurance subsidies as Americans of limited income. Of the people in the plan now, 93 percent qualify for subsidies “versus 84 percent of enrollees nationwide,” the Alaska State Health Insurance Exchanges website says. “Premium subsidies extend to higher income levels in Alaska due to the higher threshold for the federal poverty level in the state.”

With the subsidy-threshold limit set at four times the poverty rate, the ceiling for a family of four in Alaska is $123,000 per year. The exchange does not say what the average Alaskan enrolled in the ACA pays for health insurance, but does note the “average subsidy in Alaska was $976 per month, compared with an average of $371 per month nationwide.”

CNN last year called Alaska the state in the “eye of health care reform storm.” It reported 49th state premiums “remain the nation’s highest, $904 a month for a 40-year-old nonsmoker in Anchorage on Premera’s second-lowest silver plan, which sets the benchmark for subsidy levels.”

The silver plan has a deductible of $4,500 for individuals, $9,000 for families. Because of high deductibles, a significant number of healthy Americans have been avoiding the federal requirement for insurance and electing to pay a federal penalty of 2.5 percent on income for refusing to obtain insurance.

“Millions Pay the Obamacare Penalty Instead of Buying Insurance,” The New York Times headlined in November. 

For healthy individuals this is a rational decision. Someone making $50,000 per year could pay the annual penalty of $1,250 for the year, spend $2,000 on minor medical expenses, and still come out thousands of dollars ahead of paying monthly insurance premiums plus covering the deductible before insurance kicked in.

With a premium of $904 per month and a $4,500 deductible, an individual would need annual medical costs of $15,000 per year to come out ahead.

 

But Congress in December eliminated the insurance mandate and along with it the penalty imposed on those refusing to enroll in the Affordable Care Act. Congress kept the program itself alive, but the repeal of the “tax” on those who refused to get insurance is now at the heart of the Texas lawsuit.

Legal maneuverings

 

“The Texas lawsuit is a complicated matter, and the impacts from any decision on the Alaska health care market, and individual Alaskans, are unknown,” Lindemuth’s spokeswoman said.

But the lawsuit is actually pretty simple. The essence is that it’s illegal for the federal government to tell the citizens of the U.S. they must buy health insurance,” the suit says.  The issue has been to court before, and, as the Texas filing notes, “the Supreme Court held that Congress lacks the constitutional authority to compel citizens to purchase health insurance.”

There was, however, a catch.

A majority of the court decided that the mandate to buy insurance or pay the penalty – ie. the tax –  gave Congress the authority to act using its power to tax. In other words, Congress couldn’t tell Americans how to act, but it could tax them so as to force them to act in certain ways.

With the tax now gone from the law, Texas and the states siding with it argue there is no legal basis for the law. Other states are trying to save the law for the obvious benefit it provides to low-wage earners. Some of the states supporting the law have significant numbers of voters collecting subsidies.

The pool of Obamacare-subsidized voters in Alaska is,however, small. There about 10 times as many people on Medicaid, a free health care program for low-income Alaskans of which Walker has been a big supporter despite the costs it’s adding to the already financially cash-strapped state.

More than 184,000 people are now covered by the Medicad in Alaska, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Just shy of 60 percent of them live in rural Alaska.

Though the majority of rural residents are Alaska Natives who qualify for Indian Health Service care, the Medicaid program is favored by many because it picks up transportation costs.

Most Alaska villages have nothing but a health aide, and Medicaid will pay for non-emergency transportation “for services that are covered by Medicaid and not available in your community,” the Alaska Medicaid Recipient Handbook says. “Medicaid will cover transportation to the nearest available facility that provides the recommended
service. Medicaid will cover transportation for an Indian Health Services beneficiary to travel to the nearest available Indian Health Services facility that provides the recommended service.

“The state of Alaska has contracted with air carriers to transport Medicaid recipients for health care in other communities. The Medicaid Travel Office will book your travel on an approved air carrier.”

The availability of Medicaid-funded air transport to see doctors in Anchorage and Fairbanks for non-emergency care has made life undeniably easier for people in rural Alaska, a part of the state considered a Walker-Mallott stronghold.

And given the confused state of American health care, no politician courting the rural Alaska vote would want to do anything to indicate he is in anyway against publicly funded health care or former President Barack Obama.

Obama carried about half of  rural Alaska in the 2008 Presidential election cycle when former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whose husband is an Alaska Native, ran as the vice-presidential candidate on the ticket with Republican John McCain, and Obama dominated in rural Alaska in 2012. 

Walker and Mallott would have good reason to suggest to Lindemuth that she ignore the request from Texas,  but it’s entirely possible she made the decision on her own as her spokesperson suggested.

Whether she made the decision independently is another matter, as Mitchell points out. Lindemuth is doomed as attorney general if Walker loses the election in November. It would be in her own best interest, if she wants to stay in the job, to make the decision that would do the most to increase her boss’s chances of winning re-election.

As Nobel laureate Thomas Mann once observed, “everything is politics.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story left out the 2008 Presidential election results in rural Alaska.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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22 replies »

  1. Medicaid Expansion blew a giant hole in the budget. Socialists should call that a win. Losing the Dividend is the price you must now pay….Fair Dinkum!

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  2. Where is our Sarah Palin when we need her? We need the leadership of that person who won “Miss Congeniality” at the Miss Alaska pageant as well as starting point guard on the Wasilla Warriors State Championship Basketball Team!

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    • I take that as humor . Funniest joke ever ? We both know she is not sharpest tool in shed ? Right? She does at times Stand in right position though. How is beyond me . Lack of follow through and mismanagement disqualify her . What we need is a buisness manager who specializes in turning failing buisness into money makers . Yet is an ethical person so they don’t leave a legacy of underhanded deals and ethical concerns. I have a freind from Colorado that made his fortune that way but I bet he is way to smart to enter the sufferfest of politics. Who specializes in that ? A management pro ? Just a thought of mine that seams logical. Needs research though.

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  3. Bill . It’s not a Rant . I figured most people have been paying attention to information that it’s unnecessary to carefully detail out . Pointing out a few bits of incorrect implementation does not a rant make . I think you may suspect I’m a rebublican / disgruntled so an easy target . Wrong you are . I am an American first and foremost . I don’t believe in any parties . Or effort to divide people. I had Democrat independent leanings until I carefully started researching what is going on . Using an open mind I started to develop a clear picture that’s not tainted by parties . I voted for Obama first term when I was naive and had stars in my eyes . As did my extended family . Then I carefully read his book and clearly saw he was not fit for leadership. Read it yourself carefully then cross check with what is required of a strong leader of free men during trying times and you will see im right . When he proceeded to campaign in Germany instead of focusing on America ect it was clear he was not going to work primarily for Americans interests . This is historical and you can look it up . Those facts made me Leary thus he didn’t get my vote second term and completely turned me away from party concept. I was very excited about Obama care ! It’s disfuntional and you being as information based as you are already know that . But I will give Alaskan examples. Breifly . Good freind at hospital . Head anthesiolgist . Rich . His premiums are now so high he can hardly afford to have children use doctors. He is upper middle class . My freind a very important contributor to job creation who is a young construction contractor- 30 employees can’t easily afford his family’s health care insurance. He is careful with budget yet still unable to finish his house even though he works almost every day 8-20 hours . Myself not insured before Obama care due to supposed bs preexist condition body mass index . And unable to qualify for cheap insurance now even though I am low end of tax bracket. So that makes 25 years of no insurance. Doctors Also almost no use of doctors . Always pay my bills . Hospitals Doctors usually operate as a pool so Uninsured does not effect them much in Alaska . Out of state sure it does as illegal immigrants and the poor probably don’t pay and probably still are mostly uninsured even with a fine mandate . Thus premiums rise . The hard workers end up getting the shaft of overpriced health care as most people still pay cash on top of the insurance . The individual mandate was not to help poor struggling doctors it was to raise insurance companies profits . Most law abiding hard workers follow rules and pay up . It’s not about party lines or self employment. It’s about human health and not being bound financially so extreme that freedom and financial security becomes rare . Alaskans deserve better from their politicians and a brighter future . Yes I’m sensitive to anything that try’s to force Americans in a specific direction. Especially government. As that was not founders intent . They specifically said all remaining rights are reserved for states and citizens. What would have George Washington have said if someone told him you have no choice ? Sighn up and pay more than you have or get a fine ? That’s not what I call freedom. That’s usurpation of power and right to live life liberty and happiness- individual choice. Very clear . Your concept of individual mandate being needed is dead wrong . That concept is similar to saying ,to stop all crime we must lock up all people. Sure that works but it’s not right . I wanted Obama care to be suscesfull more than you can imagine. But it’s not mathematically sound and treads on personal liberty or did . You don’t understand how mathematically it doesn’t work out . You need to dig way deeper. And anaylize carefully. You are a very smart person with a clear voice that is accidentally misinforming people. My wife used to get insurance through work. Seams great but to offset the cost of overpriced medical charges and high insurance costs her company witch paid very well still couldn’t bring the wage to a point where financial sequirty and adequate freedom can balance. You need to look deeper into the problem and understand Americans are being pinched and it will get worse due to insurance costs combined with lack of dollar value. It’s not a party issue . It’s an American issue. Same goes for moving capital to road system. It’s logic . Automatically cheaper living and more accessible to more people. Any study that shows otherwise had an iron in the fire . Feel free to prove me wrong as I haven’t looked close at it for 25 years . Don’t get wrong idea . I respect your intellect extremely and consider you one of best devils advocates I ever listened to .

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    • Well Rayme, it seems that you are bothered about something but I just plain have no idea of what it is that is troubling you. You were unhappy with your original allusion of Obama but that has nothing to do with where you are now coming from IMO. You are troubled and tend to blame Walker for something he really has nothing to do with (paying oil-tax credits for example). Walker has delayed these payments that our Legislature has ordered to be paid but you act like he had something to do with them.
      I’m not going to suggest that our health-care system is something to be proud of but it is what it is and we will eventually get it fixed IMO (because we have to). My own observations are that a family member of my wife’s is an oral surgeon (East coast) who makes $87k/month and that is working 4 days/wk. And on top of that her husband makes more than she does in a similar profession. My own feelings here is that nobody is worth that kind of money but that is what our system pays and general practitioners don’t make anywhere near that much. So………………we clearly have some serious problems but I can say it has nothing to do with whether/not you’re involved with one party or another.
      And it doesn’t have a thing to do with whether/not you happen to think that I have a mathematics problem (I happen to have an advanced degree in mathematics for disclosure here).
      Obamacare is working because people happen to like it-those who don’t like it are those who don’t qualify for the subsidies that are there for those who can’t afford the premiums. It was, by design, to allow for insurance that too many Americans went without because they couldn’t afford the premiums and the providers ended up eating the costs provided at emergency rooms for those without assets. As I mentioned previously, the attempt was made to make it a single payer program (similar to medicare) but that went down in flames because of the objections of health care providers. They know what a single payer system will do to their incomes (a look at what medicare provides, compared to what providers charge, will show you why), and they objected. So we have what we could get and those who cannot qualify for subsidies are upset. Tough noogies-they didn’t lobby their congressional members enough because nothing was done originally and nothing has still been done to fix their problem. Your anesthesiologist friend can clearly afford his health care, he just doesn’t like having to pay when others are subsidized but like I said “tough noogies”, the system wasn’t created for him, it was created because the health care program totally wasn’t working. Hospitals weren’t getting paid by the poor who showed up in their emergency rooms with issues and no insurance. We needed to get millions insured and this was the program we ended up with.
      The only folks bitching are those without subsidies. Sure there are a few imbeciles who want to go without insurance, because “freedoms”, but nobody gives a shit about them.
      By the way, your logic is missing something IMO, relative to moving the capital to the road system. If you could somehow transfer the infrastructure from Juneau to your location (without costs) you might have something but, of course, that’s rather difficult. As far as accessibility, I know of nobody who has ever complained of not being accessible to their representatives. If they somehow need to do a one-on-one they fly to Juneau and the need for a road to Juneau is being pushed (to the tune of $500 million) so you’ll be able to drive there. Heheh! I’m sure most Alaskans will want to drive the ALCAN in winter when they can fly in comfort, but you get the idea. You’ll have to convince legislators to meet in your basement until you can get the rest of your ilk to furnish something that they are accustomed to. I used the “Taj MaHawker” building, with individual toilets for each legislator, so you have some idea of what they are accustomed to. I know that we would all want them to have individual outhouses, without heat, but at least there wouldn’t be mosquitoes during the legislative sessions.
      Good luck with that!

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      • Hmm . Bill I don’t think you read what I wrote carefully. I didn’t say you were poor at mathematics. I think you are probably awesome . That said even a mathematician can get the wrong answer when they don’t have all the numbers or put in the wrong ones . I think you didn’t carefully think deeply into the other stuff I said either. Or perhaps I was poor at delivery. Thx for reading it though!

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  4. Possibly Biggest problem in America – Healthcare. Some form of socialized medicine is needed but not anything connected to Obama care . Unaffordable for the upper middle class through upper lower class . Which includes majority of Americans. It started off on wrong foot by trying to force free people to purchase it through penalties effectively turning many honest people into law breakers . You have to be in poverty bracket for it to help much . Best can be said it was a nice try . Needs scrapped ASAP . Thankfully Alaska has good insurance for children and mothers . The medical care in Alaska is pretty substandard. Out of state hospitals are only place that seem truly effective. Part of problem may be the law changes that allows hospitals to be for profit. My extended family has more documentable bad experiences in Alaska hospitals than are repeatable. Alaska should have reasearched other countries and cities with top end medical care that’s affordable when we were rolling in oil money . Maybe it’s not to late . Our next governor needs to form a committee ASAP and solve the problem for its citizens. Don’t wait for president to do it . Our lawmakers should pressure congress to get to work for a solution . Any thing less is irresponsible use of their position of power. I say all Americans deserve quality affordable health care . Perhaps Alaska could be at forefront of developing a functional solution? Walker could have used the high dollar payments he gave his out of state lawyer friends to instate universitys instead to develop an instate program that trained doctors and attracted medical students with cost saving incentives to practice instate . He could have started infrastructure to attract students that would pay for the university. He gives incentive to oil companies! How about working to make Alaska a beacon for people with ingenuity. It’s simpler here because we have money that could be pushed towards investment and value added production. Not tiling elevators with expensive tile .Bring lawmakers to a central city . Save money and make them accessible. Reduce government massively use the money for basic services and investment. Yeah that’s a broad statement but a provable one . To my understanding aids in our legislature are heavily paid. Moving capital to road system would save massively. Sure many of my ideas won’t come close to working but if a careful cost saving effort was utilized combined with supporting value added instate products we would be in the black and have money to invest heavily again . I say it’s completely inexcusable our past government hasn’t solved the medical care problem in this state . Cost and quantity issues. Thank you Craig for your research and bringing Alaska’s issues to light !!

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    • Boy, quite a rant Rayme! You say scrap Obamacare but not why? And further, why some form of socialized medicine not connected to Obamacare??
      So you don’t like individual mandate, sort of on the order of you thinking income taxes are a form of slavery? Actually, the individual mandate was needed to keep the insurance affordable but those not getting a subsidy were not the big problem for our healthcare problem because they could collected from if they didn’t pay their health-care bills (it was the poor that couldn’t pay so the Drs. and hospitals had to eat those costs, driving up costs for others). Thus the subsidy was needed for low income folks and not needed for others (that’s what pisses them off, of course).
      Don’t know if you remember but prior to Obamacare being passed they attempted a single-payer program similar to medicare but were shot down by health care workers (Drs. and nurses).
      Anyway, what we got was a program that covered the issues with Drs. and hospitals getting paid and giving insurance to untold millions who couldn’t afford it. Further, most everyone on it is happy with its coverage (things like not being cancelled for pre-existing conditions, etc.).
      Those unhappy are those who don’t get subsidized but those are mostly self-employed individuals making too much money (those tend to be Republican voters who were left in the lurch by their own pols who didn’t participate in Obamacare).
      Of course the Dems. didn’t need their help in passing it but that’s the big problem now and the Republicans could easily fix it if they wanted but that doesn’t leave enough money for 1% tax cuts.
      BooHoo!
      Where to start with your capital move horsechit? The last attempt at moving it was voted down due to its being “too expensive” but those voters didn’t take into consideration your offering to put everyone up in your basement. You saw how conservative our legislators were with their “Taj MaHawker” building in Los Anchorage-perhaps you should pick it up at auction and offer it to Legislature as a savings. Heheh!
      And you could make them accessible, how?

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  5. U left out my favorite part. Alaskans who get health benefits from their employer do not pay taxes on the value of those benefits. While independent, self employed Alaskans must find health care with after-tax income. NOT FAIR! Medicare for ALL!!

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  6. Craig,
    Just so you know, flying folks out of the bush for medical appointments, sickness and injury is not new to Medicaid Expansion under Obama Care…
    This has been going on since I got here 12 years ago (and I suspect much longer).
    We are a civil society and should not punish people due to their social economic status.
    Sure, folks get groceries and clothing/supplies when flown in for “welfare checks”…I am glad…it helps out older members of the family and young children who maybe cannot snowmachine into town.
    The real burden of Alaska’s budget is the bloated school district budgets and retired teacher pension systems of which amount to over 1.5 billion annually in state funds. This is where reform is needed as we more forward.

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  7. Regarding health care, it will never get better or cheaper in Alaska for the private sector. Medical monopolies extort the highest surgery costs in the US, and the medical industry owns the politicians that guard the laws that allow this. Most Alaskans don’t care about health care costs, because they are government workers with health plans or they are poor-ass people that don’t pay taxes and get free health care via those that do pay taxes. The only fiscally prudent option for the private sector folks is to leave Alaska. Establish a residence in another state where you can cut health care costs in half. And have a 2nd home or cabin in AK where you can come back and visit.

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  8. More of the same, have two homes and when it’s convenient, live in the Alaska home and claim residency. Cry me a river.

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  9. Jahna is smart to stay out of more “meaningless” litigation that is going no where…it is just a waste of state attorneys and resources that Alaska cannot afford.
    As to Rod’s comment…
    Maybe if Mike wanted to make a difference in Juneau this year, he would have finished out his term as senator instead of resigning midterm…look how much time was wasted in finding his replacement and how NO budget reforms came forward this year.
    As for “politically driven”…well, most folks looking to serve in government fit that shoe.
    Do not expect much changes from Dunleavy if he gets in office, other than more resources and money wasted on “crime & punishment”, while the oil man continues to drive policy in AK.

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  10. Although I am not an Alaskan I believe that Sarah Palin was running in 2008 before Obamacare, not in 2012 after Obamacare. How a correction would affect the reasoning in this article I do not know.

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    • thanks for the catch, Ron. one doesn’t need to be an Alaskan to get the facts straight or obviously, to screw them up as here. somehow the reference to 2008 got edited out when i was editing that story and everything ran together with 2012.
      the story has been corrected, and i appreciate your sharp eye.
      on balance, Sarah Palin probably helped Bush in Alaska in 2008, but the rural part of the state has always had strong pockets of Democrat support. Clinton did well there in ’96, and rural Alaska is credited with putting former Sen. Mark Begich, a D, over the top and into office in 2008, though it helped that incumbent Sen. Ted Stevens had just been indicted by federal prosecutors later charged with prosecutorial misconduct.
      Begich in 2012 lost a very close election Dan Sullivan, a lt. col. in the Marines, a former state AG and Commissioner of Natural Resources, who happens to be married to the daughter of a prominent Fairbanks Native leader.
      it is generally believed that if a Democrat, or Democrat-linked, statewide candidates hopes to win election or re-election in Alaska, he or she has to carry rural Alaska by a wide margin.

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  11. While Alaska does allow the Governor to pick their own Attorney General that person does have to receive at least 31 votes out of 60 from the Alaska Legislature to be confirmed to the position.
    It’s worth noting that then Senator Mike Dunleavy was one of only two Senators who voted NO to her being confirmed, based on Jahna Lindemuth’s actions as acting Attorney General under Walker/Mallott up to that time.
    Mike Dunleavy is now running for Governor of Alaska, hopefully he can get rid of all three of these “politically” driven individuals and help Alaskans out.

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    • It is pretty amazing how Walker works his rural minions. First he takes a thousand dollars from each and every rural resident, those that probably could use the money. Knowing that cutting the PFD in half probably doesn’t sit well with them, he makes many trips to the bush with his kuspuk on and dances with his minions. Literally. The sight of this clown in a kuspuk is quite despicable. It should be especially despicable to Natives. But then again, Alaskan Natives seem to be easily manipulated by clown shows like Walker’s.

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