The driving tenant of the Midnight Sun is to keep Alaskans from being in the dark about local, state, and national issues. But it’s hard to hold up our end of the bargain when it comes to the healthcare issue because most of the bill crafting for healthcare repeal is going on behind closed doors. We simply get vague snippets from those involved and conjecture from those who aren’t.
The snippets we’ve seen have painted a dire picture for Alaska–loss of coverage, loss of services, and a sharp increase in costs for everyone. And while Senator Murkowski has been more forthcoming than most about some of her concerns, Alaskans deserve to know where our Congressional delegates stand on some key issues that are causing individuals, organizations, and businesses a great deal of anxiety as we hang in healthcare limbo.
Here are a few questions that we would like answered directly by our delegates. Will you:
- allow 62,500 Alaskans to lose coverage;
- protect the 261,120 Alaskans with pre-existing conditions who are at risk of losing their coverage (this includes 35,680 children);
- allow premiums to go up 16 percent;
- allow insurance companies being able to charge up to 5 times more to people age 53 – 64;
- allow a bill to pass that would cause an Alaskan living in rural Alaska to pay for healthcare that would exceed their income;
- allow Congress to gut Medicaid and put 171,000 Alaskans who depend on it—including children, seniors, and people with disabilities—at risk;
- allow 14,400 Alaskans to lose the coverage they’ve gained under Medicaid expansion;
- allow their Congressional counterparts to rush a healthcare repeal bill through the Senate, with no public hearings or bi-partisan discussion, to appease President Trump’s political agenda?
At this point in the discussion, our delegates should have enough information to know where they stand on these issues, even if they don’t know how Congress will make their way to solving them. The Midnight Sun would like to join the chorus of Alaskans asking for some direct answers.