Category Archives: Health Insurance

Alaska News Roundup for December 31

  • Wired has you covered with all the information you need to prep for New Year’s reveries and how too minimize tomorrow’s ouchie…with Science!
  • Either Alaska is going to see a $110 a barrel crude again or we are going to see more taxes, per Gov. Bill Walker (looking rather smart in a cross-weave tie) during his CNBC interview.Gov. Bill Walker


  • Pres. Obama’s decision to allow the NSA to collect communications between Israeli government officials and members of Congress did not sit well with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has requested the pleasure of NSA Director Michael Rogers’ presence to explain themselves.
  • Rep. Mike Hawker (R-Anchorage) is not seeking re-election for his uber safe (for Republicans that is) seat this fall. Let the bloodbath for the GOP primary for House Seat 28.

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Alaska News Roundup for December 29 & 30

  • Along with Hair of the Dog this Friday to boost your…er…morale is the knowledge that some 12,000 Alaskans will be receiving a minimum wage increase to $9.75. Cheers!
  • CNN/ORC conducted a poll that is chocked full of interesting data concerning how the American voting public feel toward their elected officials. In general…it’s not a rosy picture. That’s what getting the most attention. Hidden toward the end of the poll is a slow and steady shift toward stronger gun control (pg. 14).Gun Control


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Alaska News Roundup for November 4

  • Wired has some great background on a new bill before Congress that INCREASES (pretty non-existent) Americans’ rights to digital privacy. The bill would require state and local law enforcement to obtain a warrant BEFORE they can use stingray surveillance devices. Wonder where our Congressional Delegation will side on this issue?stingray


  • Ninilchik Tribal Council is going full-throttle on taking care of its community by beginning the steps toward an area-wide peninsula public-transit system complete with a transit hub to ensure access for all to medical and public amenities. The Peninsula Clarion reports that the estimated annual operating budget of $200,000 and an initial start-up cost of $1.2 million that would go toward the purchase of buses, drivers, insurance, etc.
  • Learn all about the Mat-Su Borough’s new Mayor Vern Halter in a LIVE radio interview with APRN today from 2:00-3:00pm. Call 1-888-353-5752.
  • One of my little birds shared this photo from a Politico photo essay of “When Halloween and Washington Mixed”. There was some slight confusion of why Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s nephews were so…”bulky” and thought it might be due to the “caribou diet”.   Nah, her security guards were geared up for Halloween Alaska style: complete with snow gear UNDER the costume.Murkowski Halloween


  • The State Pot Board might be on track to satisfy all the policy requirements of the 2014 ballot initiative cum law but the Juneau Empire reports that one rather important aspect is still unsolved: where can visitors/tourists legally consume the now legal cannabis?
  • TransCanada is probably doing a happy dance about the AK Senate’s vote to buyout the company’s stake in the LNG pipeline from the Peninsula Clarion’s take on the event.
  • Fairbanks Mayor Karl Kassel gave an administration defining speech to borough employees last Tuesday where he stressed substance over flattery. The end goal according to the Fairbanks News Miner? “I want to end the Super Bowl of local governments.” Then maybe a trip to Disneyland?
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  • Health insurance rates will continue to go up for 2016 as to will subsidies, but the Dispatch explains what the state is doing to help those found in the unenviable situation of earning too much to receive subsidies and have to purchase their healthcare through the Marketplace Exchange.
  • The AP has a pretty expansive list of how states evaluate their teachers using testing results. Alaska is part of a large contingency that uses test scores as a key factor in teacher evaluations.
  • Rep. Charisse Millett shared this great picture of the female House Majority members (though where is Rep. Louise Stutes in this female empowerment photo?).House Majority Ladies


  • Take heart Democratic Party because Politico charts a path to winning back the House…if Donald Trump or Dr. Ben Carson wins the prime spot on the ticket.
  • The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly was all like a Human Beinz song at their last public meeting where they decided to take a stand against homeowners buying or selling from being forced to connect to the South Tongass Service Area’s public water system and approved all of Mayor David Landis’ Assembly appointments without a fight.
  • Anti-Pebble groups are petitioning AKDNR to investigate Pebble Mine backers to ensure they have the met current reclamation requirements with deadlines so the state isn’t left paying for any cleanup that isn’t done after mining is complete, per the Dispatch.
  • The City of Juneau is but a few short, sweet months away from handing out 12 individual $6,000 grants to homeowners to build an accessory or MIL apartment to help boost Juneau’s housing market. For those interested, the Juneau Empire has the requirements for the grant money and why this is a widely considered a good use of limited fiscal resources.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski tweeted this fascinating Waterworldesque picture of Alaskan waterways regarding the controversial EPA water rule under debate this week on THE hill.



  • The House Oversight Committee gave REALLY bad marks to federal agencies on their compliance with properly managing and securing their IT systems. The Department of Energy, Education, and NASA all received “F.” The State Department got a “D” and Homeland Security got a “C.” The best marks of a “B” went to the Department of Corrections and General Services Administration, per The Hill.

Alaska News Roundup for October 8

  • Today’s THE day in state legislative meets healthcare at the State Reform Health Policy Conference in Anchorage!! Everyone is going to be there. From one of the Big Three ( Valerie Davis of HSS (!)); to the battling of opinions on the state’s healthcare direction with Sen. John Coghill (R-North Pole), Sen. Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks), Sen. Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage) explaining their vision at the 1:45pm panel; and Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage), Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage), Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage) sharing their vision. The biggest surprise of pre-event excitement from many of my little birds is regarding the 9:30am panel with Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer) to discuss reforming Medicaid. Lots of fans, he has.Seaton


  • Could the Permanent Fund Board garner a “Pope-like” figure or more likely a “PF Czar”? That is the latest question wafting out of every Alaskan’s favorite state entity, though the hunt for a regular Executive Director is the main focus for the state with my little birds liking candidates Alexander Slivka and Angela Rodell the most out of the short list.
  • Congratulations Felix Wong and Stephen Bradford on their individual wins for a seat at the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly dais!
  • Kodiak Island Borough now officially can claim Kyle Crow, Mel Stephens and Dennis Symmons as part of their Assembly team.
  • Heads up Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna) and Rep. Kurt Olson (R-Soldotna): the Kenai Peninsula Borough School districts has their official legislative marching orders for you and it’s all focused on protecting their access to funding. But that doesn’t mean individual input isn’t still being requested. There are lots of locations to be a part of the Oct. 15 budget development meeting.
  • Neither Mat-Su Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss nor his challenger Vern Halter is conceding the race until the vote count is finalized, per the Frontiersman.
  • Anchorage is in talks with Conoco Phillips to buy back some of their leases in the upper Cook Inlet for ML&P to control, though as APRN explains…”any purchase will have to first be approved by the [Anchorage] assembly.”

    Cook Inlet

    Photo Credit of APRN

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski is beginning to see the light at the end of her hard-fought battle to lift the 40+ oil export ban with The Hill reporting that the White House has been making noises that point to a possible signature!
  • Palmer is one town that won’t be selling commercial pot as the town voted 318 to 266 to ban this particular economic sector from opening shop and paying taxes, per the Dispatch.
  • The Western Director and Senior Attorney for NRDC wrote an op-ed for Huffington Post where he made his case for why the recent independent study that found that the relationship between the EPA and anti-Pebble groups was improper, was nothing more than a PR Stunt from a “cash-starved” Pebble Partnership.
  • Mayor-elect Karl Kassel is not wasting time in beginning his transition to full-on mayor. The Fairbanks News Miner reports that he is already taking applications for positions within his administration and has a basic idea of the changes he wants to make.
  • Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage) is not one to let injury slow him down and that was evident last night at the latest UAA College Democrats meeting where he gave a “barn-burning” speech against the current oil tax structure.20151007-Rep-Gara-at-UAA-College-Democrats-Meeting-1


  • Sen. Dan Sullivan is backing a new bill regarding illegal immigrants and Politico explains the legislation’s aim and who else is getting on the bandwagon.
  • Quinnipiac has just released their latest poll that shows of the 2016 swing state US Senate races, only Ohio’s Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) vs. Ted Strickland (D) is a toss-up, though Democratic challengers in Florida are gaining traction.
  • Rep. Don Young tweeted his support on H.R. 538 that would give Alaska Natives the ability to utilize their lands without “heavy hand of federal government”.Rep. Young


  • Doyon, Limited is expanding their O&G exploration within the Nenana basin with plans to drill their 3rd exploratory well in the summer of 2016, per the Fairbanks News Miner.
  • APRN explains the state’s DNR decision on Alaskans’ rights over natural resource use and why PacRim Chuitna Coal is not amused.
  • While the numbers are still being finalized, it appears that yesterday may have shattered voting records for the past ten years in Fairbanks!
  • The Frontiersman has an excellent piece about Mat-Su Assembly candidate (and future powerhouse) Maria Serrano and her tenacious spirit that took her from simply a name on a ballot to a formidable challenger despite her 19 years.
  • In happy fun time news: the Juneau Empire reports that while the original partnership between the Vincent de Paul Society and GMD Development went belly-up with their plans to bring affordable housing to the capital city, there is still forward movement to ensure the project grows into fruition.

Alaska News Roundup for September 30

  • In that was quick news: Roselynn Cacy has become candidate #4 for the now open Senate District L seat Southwest Anchorage. This is expected to be old had for Casey as she ran for the seat back in 2012, but as the Dispatch reports, this time around she will first have win the Democratic primary against long-time campaigning Forrest McDonald. Jeff “I’ve never met a Speedo I couldn’t rock” Landfield and Natasha von Imhof have their own primary battle for the GOP bid before the final face-off in November 2016.
  • Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! The lucky coffee-drinking Juneau residents just got luckier with the announcement that Coppa, GonZo, and the Rookery are going to match discounted coffee prices to October 6th’s voter turnout. As the Juneau Empire reports that last year’s turnout was 29% and that would have meant 29 cents off a cuppa.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski might have come a long way baby as the ONLY Chairwoman of a full committee, but according to Politico…this is probably as far as the GOP will allow her (or any other GOP Congressional women) to ascend.
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  • The Peninsula Clarion covered the latest Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Seat 1 candidate debate between incumbent Kelly Wolf, Gary Knopp, Robin Davis, and David Wartinbee.

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Alaska News Roundup for September 14

  • Grab your red bull and comfy chair because this week on THE HILL is going to be long and full of potential fireworks! The Hill explains that congress will be all about Planned Parenthood funding, the Iranian Nuclear Accord and monetary sanctions on frivolous
  • The Juneau Empire flexed their eloquence muscle in their latest editorial over the September 5th City and Borough of Juneau Assembly closed doors meeting over the fireweed field zoning issue. Their fury and contempt definitely make this worth a read!
  • In wicked awesome news: the USDA has approved grant money (Nunam Iqua, $112,800, Eek, $4.38 million; Kwethluk, $2.21 million and Akiachak, $6.38 million) for Y-K villages to improve rural water systems with not just pre-existing facilities, but training, technical assistance and development of future ones as well, per the Tundra Drums.

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Alaska News Roundup for June 30

  • Ready the fire extinguisher because when Alaska’s statehood birthday cake will now have 57 candles!

    Cake Suck

    You’ve Come a Long Way Baby! 

  • Juneau’s Gastineau Apartments is turning out to be their city’s version of Dante’s Inferno. The longer this story enfolds, the deeper the pockmark it has become on the municipality. No longer just an eyesore, the Juneau Empire reports that the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly is now having to take 8 million in dedicated funds from a different project to put toward the demolition of the apartment complex’s remains because it is looking highly unlikely that the property’s owners will cough up the dough.
  • Rep. Lynn Gattis (R-Wasilla) threw shade at the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. for hosting a golfing tournament during working hours while the state is in a budget crisis. To which the corporation returned her volley with a simple statement to the Dispatch.
  • APRN takeaway from Arctic Geopolitics is not all sunshine and unicorns. You have been warned.
  • The Hill explains why SCOTUS’ ruling on redistricting will likely alter the makeup of 2022’s congressional seats, but APRN reports that it will remain status quo on the federal side…. not so much state side.

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Alaska News Roundup for June 29

  • Tonight’s Wasilla City Council meeting will decided if the 1% sales tax increase becomes permanent and to approve a temporary 2-3% tax to raise the needed $15 million for the new Wasilla Library. The Frontiersman has the details.
  • The GOP is girding their loins, sharpening their quills and readying their rhetoric for the regulation battles ahead. The Hill reports that dietary guidelines, the carbon pollution reductions, E-cigarette oversight, calorie count menu labeling requirements, and union election laws will be getting extra attention in the coming weeks.
  • Gov. Bill Walker signed two of Rep. Cathy Munoz’s (R-Juneau) bills into law over the weekend. The first incentivizes affordable housing through municipal tax exemptions. The second creates the first new tax in well over a decade. HB158 creates a 1% per gallon tax that will go toward funding the Hazardous Substances Prevention and Response Fund.
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan was spotted at a recent Indo-American Community Services meet & greet. According to my little bird, he was all smiles, but was still mastering the art of working the room while his more senior congressional colleagues demonstrated “how it’s done”.
  • Budget cuts hit the Alaska Marine Highway hard with 3 of the 11 strong fleet being docked for the majority of 2016. APRN reports that several Southeast communities won’t have ferry access for about a month with more cuts on the horizon.

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Alaska News Roundup for June 22

  • The Battle of Blackwater: Alaska style won’t see epic CGI effects ala Game of Thrones, but the Juneau Empire explains why the stakes involved in permitting cruise ship’s wastewater release into Juneau Harbor waters are just as high.
  • This week on Capital Hill, it will be an all-out marathon to finish legislation before the holiday recess. Passage of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), the 2016 annual appropriations bill, judicial review of final EPA air regulations and Interior Department appropriations.
  • The latest in the Snowden revelations is not going to warm the cockles of your heart. It turns out from The Intercept that the NSA and their British counterparts (GCHQ) have been working together to hack antivirus software to further conduct surveillance on American citizens.Snowden


  • The Nome Nugget has the details on the state Dept. of Natural Resources’ new regulations on offshore mining.

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Alaska News Roundup for April 9

  • Now that the Anchorage mayoral race is officially in Round Deux, the Dispatch has released their candidates answered questionnaire in full. It is rather telling.ADN mayoral question


  • The AP’s Becky Bohrer has the latest on the Capital Budget’s skeletal existence, one of the smallest for more than a decade.
  • The Peninsula Clarion reports that the Kenai Peninsula Borough approved to expand their food tax on non-prepared food items from four to six month of the year. The new dates are from April 1 through September 31.
  • Rep. Mike Hawker’s (R-Anchorage) numerous amendments to HB105 caused more than the raising of mere eyebrows in Juneau yesterday. The Fairbanks News Miner’s Matt Buxton reports that some legislators started seeing red as the intention of Hawker’s amendments became clear-to undermine and delay the Interior Energy Project in order to protect Anchorage’s utilities.Kawaski Angry


  • The Dispatch explains Governor Bill Walker’s reaction from an over the phone interview while Alexandra Gutierrez with APRN summarized it within 140 characters.Gov Walker reaction

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Lunch Break: AK’s Mixed Bag of Awesome for Women

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research just released their second set of reports from their seven part “Status of Women in the States” series.  The numbers are important indicators as to how half of the electorate is really doing within Alaska’s economic bubble.

The Great:  Alaska is #1 in the union when it comes to the percentage of women living above the poverty line (91%).  Oh yeah!Poverty level


The Good:  78% of women have health insurance.  This number is close to and/or the same as nearest neighboring states.  Health Insurance


The Bad:  33% of Alaskan women have a bachelor’s degree or higher (this number might seem low, but it is actually higher than any of the west coast states…really).  Remember, the national average of college degree holders (male and female) is 39.4% for ages 25-64 in 2012.  Bachelors Degree


The Ugly:  Alaska has a shockingly low 26% of woman-owned businesses.  Only seven states (five of which Alaska only beat by 1% point) have a smaller percentage of woman-owned businesses.Women Owned Business


The overall score is a solid B.  While this is respectable, we can do better.  North to the future is our state’s motto for a reason.Overall Score