State of Alaska Archives: on Health Care

Dan Sullivan: Supported repeal of ACA, individual mandate

Q: Support ObamaCare (ACA) and/or expansion of Medicaid and Medicare?

Dan Sullivan: No. Supported repeal of the ACA and eliminating the requirement for individuals to enroll in health insurance.

Al Gross: Yes. Running because Sullivan voted repeatedly to scrap the ACA. Favors offering public option, though not Medicare for all, and focusing more on addressing costs.

Source: CampusElect on 2020 Alaska Senate race Oct 10, 2020

Al Gross: System is broken; start with Medicare and public option

Our healthcare system is broken. As a doctor, I've seen firsthand the struggles Alaskans and small businesses face with the prohibitively expensive cost of quality healthcare. In Alaska, we pay more for healthcare than any other state in the country. As your senator, I will first balance Medicare so that it works and is fair for both patients and for providers. We must allow Medicare to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical industry for competitive savings.

We must offer Medicare as a public option, on the health care exchange for people to buy at cost, which will be markedly less expensive than what people are paying for health insurance today, without compromising access. This is a public option and it can and will work. And, this will help grow the economy and invite new business opportunities into our state.

Source: 2020 Alaska Senate campaign website Nov 20, 2019

Al Gross: Take on big pharma on prices & opioid epidemic

I'll take on big pharma to decrease drug prices and hold them accountable for the opioid epidemic that has destroyed the lives of too many Alaskans.
Source: 2020 Alaska Senate campaign website Nov 20, 2019

Al Gross: Increase access, lower prescription prices

Increasing access to affordable care and lowering the cost of prescription drugs are two of his top priorities when it comes to fixing health care, according to Dr. Gross. He's also committed to achieving a more efficient, coordinated delivery system; supporting physician hospital ownership; and facilitating new business opportunities through economic growth and competition in the industry.
Source: 2020 Alaska Senate race endorsements by OrthoPAC Oct 1, 2019

Al Gross: Health care costs holds back economy, especially in Alaska

Gross referred to the number of people moving out of the state, the decreased state budget, shrinking higher education system. "I really think healthcare in Alaska is holding back the economy," said Gross. "We've got the most expensive healthcare system in the entire world, and in the entire country, and it's prohibitively expensive for companies or individuals to move to the state to start new businesses because healthcare is triple the national average here in Alaska."
Source: Ketchikan radio on 2020 Alaska Senate race Aug 20, 2019

Al Gross: Led AK ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid

Gross was an orthopedic surgeon in Juneau, but left his practice in 2013 to earn a master's degree in public health, and to champion what some might call socialized medicine for all Alaskans. He led two ballot initiatives--one to enshrine Medicaid expansion, as provided by Gov. Bill Walker's executive order, and the other to start setting prices for medical services in order to regulate insurance companies. Neither made it to the ballot.
Source: on 2020 Alaska Senate race May 14, 2019

Bill Walker: 2015: expanded Medicaid himself after Legislature opted out

The gubernatorial campaign is turning on funding for state programs, especially Medicaid. When Walker announced he was suspending his campaign, he specifically cited protecting the expansion of Medicaid as a reason he wanted to see votes against [Republican opponent Mike] Dunleavy combined under one banner in the election [by withdrawing and endorsing Mark Begich].

Walker opted to expand Medicaid himself in 2015 after the state Legislature opted not to pass a bill expanding the program. But Dunleavy has criticized the move during campaign events and said at a recent debate that "we need to make sure the programs we have in place are managed well." One of Dunleavy's six major policy planks is cutting state spending.

Walker said as he dropped out that Dunleavy would "cause the most vulnerable to suffer the brunt of the additional $1 billion in budget cuts he vows to make to education, rural Alaska and those receiving health care."

Source:'s Daniel Strauss on 2018 Alaska Governor race Oct 25, 2018

Mike Dunleavy: Eliminate all health care assistance by government

The 2015 decision to expand Medicaid triggered a lawsuit from the Senate, which accused Walker of overstepping the legislative process. Then Senator Dunleavy was one legislator who was critical of Walker's decision. "I want everyone to have affordable, quality healthcare. But when one third of Alaskans are forced to rely on Medicaid, is that something we should be proud of?" Dunleavy added that if elected his focus would be on helping more find health insurance without government assistance.
Source: KTUU on 2018 Alaska gubernatorial race Aug 3, 2018

Bill Walker: Bipartisan compromise on healthcare

Walker announced his support for the Alexander-Murray bipartisan health care agreement. "Alaskans pay more for health care than most Americans do," Walker said. "Right now, more than 36,000 Alaskans have access to affordable health care thanks to Medicaid expansion, and some health insurance premiums have dropped more than 20 percent due to the innovation waiver granted by the Trump administration under the existing health care law. That coverage must be protected."
Source: Daily News-Miner on 2018 Alaska Governor race Oct 20, 2017

Mike Chenault: Any expansion of Medicaid must be result of careful analysis

The Alaska Legislative Council voted to file an injunction against the governor for his attempt to expand Medicaid without authorization. Medicaid covers Alaska's most vulnerable: families, pregnant mothers, disabled and children. Many legislators support extending Medicaid if it's the outcome of a smart process. Any expansion must be driven by answers instead of by questions. Prudence demands sideboards and reforms to our system in order to protect the vulnerable Medicaid currently serves.
Source: Anchorage Daily News on 2018 Alaska Gubernatorial race Jul 7, 2016

Bill Walker: Expand Medicaid as long as federal funds continue

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. 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.

Source: 2014 Governor campaign website, Nov 4, 2014

Cean Stevens: Do not expand Medicaid under ObamaCare

Q: Do you support or oppose expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act?

A: I do not support expanding Medicaid. One big reason is the funding formula for Medicaid pays higher than Medicare which means many of our senior citizens would be less apt to receive the services they deserve. These citizens are our most vulnerable.

Source: Alaska Dispatch News on 2016 Alaska Senate race Oct 29, 2014

Joe Miller: Repeal ObamaCare; it's not a government responsibility

Question topic: It is the government's responsibility to be sure everyone has health care and a livable income.

Miller: Strongly Disagree

Question topic: The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) should be repealed by Congress.

Miller: Strongly Agree

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 Alaska Senate race Jul 2, 2014

Dan Sullivan: AdWatch: Washington is broken; including ObamaCare

An Alaska-based super PAC supporting one of Democratic Sen. Mark Begich's Republican challengers is launching its first three ads of the campaign. The radio ads are an opening salvo for the group, Alaska's Energy/America's Values, which backs former Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan. The group spent about $12,000 to air the ads over the next five days in Anchorage and Matanuska Valley.

Each of the three 60-second ads mentions Begich's support of ObamaCare. One also notes the incumbent's support of Obama's appointees, and questions where he stands on an oil tax rewrite referendum in the state this year.

"Today the American dream is being suffocated, and Senator Mark Begich is part of the problem," the ad's announcer says in one. It goes on to introduce Sullivan, who is also a former state attorney general and lieutenant colonel in the Marine Reserves, and includes an audio clip of Sullivan saying, "Washington is broken."

Source: AdWatch on 2014 Alaska Senate race Jan 9, 2014

Mark Begich: AdWatch: Promised we could keep our plans under ObamaCare

The Republican National Committee (RNC) announced a fresh round in an expected torrent of campaign ads targeting Begich and other Democrats for their part in the "lie of the year," an assurance that people could keep existing health coverage under ObamaCare.

"So what's your New Year's resolution?" a woman says on the Alaska version, as "Auld Land Syne" plays softly in the background. "Here's one you can keep. Resolve to keep Sen. Mark Begich honest in 2014."

The ads are hammering Begich and other Democrats who, along with Pres. Obama, said something to the effect of "if you like your plan, you can keep it." As it turns out, insurance plans that lack key benefits will be canceled after this year. In 2009 Begich said, "Alaskans who have health insurance now, and are happy with it, can keep it."

"The purpose of these ads is to highlight the fact Mark Begich and President Obama lied about people being able to keep their insurance and doctors under ObamaCare," the RNC said.

Source: Anchorage Daily News AdWatch on 2014 Alaska Senate race Jan 7, 2014

Mark Begich: AdWatch: Begich supports ObamaCare for Alaskans

Last month, an anti-Begich TV ad from Americans for Prosperity, a group linked to the Koch brothers, conservative billionaires. Now a pro-Begich super PAC has responded.

The anti-Begich ad featured an unnamed woman with long reddish hair in a kitchen, tying Begich to the Affordable Care Act. "Sen. Begich didn't listen. How can I ever trust him again? It just isn't fair," the woman said.

The new TV spot also features a woman with long reddish hair, also in a kitchen, but her name appears on screen. She's Megan Collie, of Anchorage. "That ad, attacking Sen. Begich? It turns out she's an actress, from Washington, DC, pretending to be from Alaska. I'm not an actress. I live here and I trust Mark Begich. He's trying to fix the healthcare law," she said in the new TV spot.

The message is the first public appearance of a Super PAC called Put Alaska First, which spent nearly $100,000 on it. While his ad emphasizes its Alaska bona fides, the group acknowledges he's paying for it with out-of-state money.

Source: KTOO AdWatch on 2014 Alaska Senate race Dec 12, 2013

Mark Begich: AdWatch: Targeted by RNC robocalls for support of ObamaCare

Sen. Mark Begich is among 11 Democrats targeted by the Republican National Committee for their support of ObamaCare. The RNC is using robocalls and posting on Facebook to urge people to call their representatives and ask "why they supported President Obama's lie that people could keep their healthcare plans under ObamaCare."

The targets besides Begich are Reps. Gary Peters (MI) and Bruce Braley (IA), Sens. Mark Warner (VA), Dick Durbin (IL), Kay Hagan (NC), Mary Landrieu (LA), Jeff Merkley (OR), Mark Pryor (AR), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), and Mark Udall (CO). The robocall script reads:

"President Obama and the Democrats said you could keep your healthcare plan under ObamaCare. Now we know [SENATOR] actually VOTED to make it more difficult. Call [SENATOR] at (XXX)-XXX-XXX & ask why [he/she] lied."

The robocalls are a response to Democrats launching the "GOP Shutdown Watch" campaign, highlighting Republican senate candidates who supported the partial federal government shutdown.

Source: MI Daily Tribune PacWatch: 2014 Alaska Senate debate Nov 5, 2013

Mead Treadwell: I will work to repeal ObamaCare

America's healthcare system needs reform but ObamaCare is not the reform we need. I will work to repeal ObamaCare. Already businesses across the country are dropping coverage for spouses, cutting back hours for their employees and insurance premiums are up. Their idea: more government dependence. This is unacceptable. ObamaCare is making it harder for Alaskans to support their families and it is a dangerous program that we cannot afford.

Real healthcare reform must be bipartisan and encourage innovation and competition in the healthcare system. We need to empower individuals with choices, not burden them with more government mandates and more government dependence.

Source: 2014 Senate campaign website,, "Issues" Oct 9, 2013

Joe Miller: Embrace threat of federal shutdown to defund ObamaCare

Nearly every Republican candidate running for Senate in 2014 backs the GOP's push to use the threat of a government shutdown to defund ObamaCare--a sign of how popular they believe the plan is with conservative primary voters. Those supporting the GOP strategy include Alaska Tea Party candidate Joe Miller (R).

Two notable exceptions are former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds (R) and Alaska Lieutenant Gov. Mead Treadwell (R), who have not fully embraced the efforts. Treadwell, who is facing Miller, said he supports "any attempt to defund and repeal ObamaCare" but that "shutting down the government is not a good idea."

"Democrats need to come to the table," Treadwell said in a statement to The Hill. "While we should try to repeal ObamaCare now, the best chance of repeal is when Republicans take control of the Senate and voters replace Senators like Mark Begich [D-Alaska] that originally voted for ObamaCare."

Source: The Hill on 2014 Alaska Senate debate Sep 22, 2013

Mead Treadwell: Repeal ObamaCare by winning back Senate

Nearly every Republican candidate running for Senate in 2014 backs the GOP's push to use the threat of a government shutdown to defund ObamaCare--a sign of how popular they believe the plan is with conservative primary voters. Those supporting the GOP strategy include Alaska Tea Party candidate Joe Miller (R).

Two notable exceptions are former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds (R) and Alaska Lieutenant Gov. Mead Treadwell (R), who have not fully embraced the efforts. Treadwell, who is facing Miller, said he supports "any attempt to defund and repeal ObamaCare" but that "shutting down the government is not a good idea."

"Democrats need to come to the table," Treadwell said in a statement to The Hill. "While we should try to repeal ObamaCare now, the best chance of repeal is when Republicans take control of the Senate and voters replace Senators like Mark Begich [D-Alaska] that originally voted for ObamaCare."

Source: The Hill on 2014 Alaska Senate debate Sep 22, 2013

Sean Randall Parnell: Federal healthcare overreaches into Americans' private lives

I am pleased U.S. District Judge Vinson recognized that the Congress reached beyond its constitutional authority into the lives and freedom of Americans. While I am concerned about rising health care costs, solutions have to be constitutional. Because the authority of Congress to enact the mandatory health insurance provisions has been ruled unconstitutional, I urge the federal government to suspend all efforts to implement these provisions until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the issue.
Source: Alaska 2011 gubernatorial press release #5638 Oct 22, 2011

Sean Randall Parnell: Alaska does not want government mandates in health care

Supporters of government mandates in health care want Alaskans to conclude that if we don't take the federal money that somehow we are not moving forward with health care initiatives in this state. That is false. The federal government's 'one size fits all' health care mandates may have ended with the Florida court decision, but we will continue working to reshape our health care system to fit the unique needs of Alaskans.
Source: Alaska 2011 gubernatorial press release #5659 Oct 22, 2011

Sean Randall Parnell: Federal health care legislation diminishes our freedom

Federal health care legislation would force Alaskans to purchase health insurance, and tax us for years before the benefits are obtained. And it cuts Medicare to our seniors. This is bad policy. It diminishes our freedom.

For these reasons, I have asked our attorney general to review and make recommendations for action, and I have joined many other governors in urging Congress to take a breath, listen to the people and do what is right.

Source: Alaska 2010 State of the State Address Jan 20, 2010

Sarah Palin: Greater competition, more choices, and less litigation

In this chamber, we share a commitment to serious health-care reform. We've learned from experience that all the answers do not come from Washington. When Congress turns to health-care reform this year, we look to our delegation to make the case for greater competition, more private sector choices, and less litigation in the health-care market. But we're not going to wait. Here, reform can move forward without delay.
Source: Alaska 2009 State of the State Address Jan 22, 2009

Sarah Palin: Health Care Commission recommends habits against obesity

We have alarming levels of heart disease, diabetes, childhood obesity--and all of these maladies are on the rise. Now, I won't stand here and lecture--for very long--but health care reform on an individual basis is often just this simple: we could save a lot of money, and a lot of grief, by making smarter choices.

It starts by ending destructive habits, and beginning healthy habits in eating and exercise. In my case, it's hard to slack when you have the ever-present example of an Iron Dogger nearby. But many of us could use a little more time in our great outdoors--and when you live in the Great Land, there's no excuse.

Protecting good health is largely a matter of personal responsibility, but government policy can help. Our new Alaska Health Care Commission will recommend changes that affect the well-being of Alaskans far into the future.

Source: Alaska 2009 State of the State Address Jan 22, 2009

Sarah Palin: Signed up as organ donor; Alaska leads the states

Gov. Palin today applauded the milestone that more than half of Alaska residents--335,033 people--have signed up to be organ and tissue donors. Alaska is the first state with a donor registry to enroll more than half of its state’s population. The Governor, First Gentleman and their two oldest children are organ and tissue donors.

“I am proud that so many residents recognize the life-giving benefits of organ and tissue donation,” Governor Palin said. “Their willingness to donate demonstrate the selfless and generous nature of Alaskans.“

April is National Donate Life Month. Every day in April, people across the U.S. make a special effort to celebrate the tremendous generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming organ, tissue, marrow, and blood donors. Life Alaska Donor Services is the tissue donation organization serving the State of Alaska, offering the option of donation to families who have suffered a death.

Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: Press release 08-057 “Organ Donor” Apr 11, 2008

Sarah Palin: Health care must be market-and business-driven

Governor Sarah Palin today introduced the Alaska Health Care Transparency Act which will provide more effective tools to help Alaskans access affordable health care, and to ensure our health care system is responsive to changing demographics and market conditions.

The bill would establish an Alaska health care information office to give consumers factual information on quality, cost and other important matters to help them make better-informed decisions about health care in the state. Recognizing that health care must be market-and business-driven, rather than restricted by government, Governor Palin is proposing a repeal of the Certificate of Need program (CON). CON is a regulatory process that requires certain health care providers to obtain state approval before offering certain new or expanded services. [Palin’s administration] concluded that the CON program does not benefit the citizens of Alaska, given the litigious environment surrounding it.

Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: press release, “Transparency” Jan 19, 2008

Sarah Palin: Take personal responsibility for personal health & all areas

Together, let’s provide the services that our Constitution requires, constitutional services such as education, public safety, and a solid infrastructure--and let’s do them right. Let’s commit to take responsibility for good stewardship when we’re developing our natural resources. Let’s remember that Alaskans are capable and created to work. So when government provides education and job training, every able-bodied Alaskan is expected to work and not simply rely on government to provide. Let’s take personal responsibility in all areas of life--including health. What we consume and engage in impacts not just our personal health, but our communities too.

Let’s reign in government growth so individual liberty and opportunity can expand. And let’s expect that every region contributes to our economy, to fulfill our promise to be a self-sufficient state made up of the hardest working, most grateful Americans in our nation.

Source: 2008 State of the State Address to 25th Alaska Legislature Jan 15, 2008

Sarah Palin: Doctors should manage health care, not bureaucracies

I established our Health Care Strategies Council and we’ll pursue many of their recommendations, starting with our Health Care Transparency Act, requiring that consumers get better information about prices and quality of their own care. We will allow competition. Under our present Certificate of Need (CON) process, costs and needs don’t drive health care choices--bureaucracy does! Our system is broken and expensive. We propose, as many states have, eliminating the CON, to increase choice and to manage rising costs. Currently nine CON lawsuits are adversely affecting consumers. Alaskans want health care in the hands of doctors, not lobbyists and lawyers. We are considering what other fiscally conservative states have done to incentivize employers to provide medical insurance for employees, based on the free market.
Source: 2008 State of the State Address to 25th Alaska Legislature Jan 15, 2008

Sarah Palin: Personal responsibility & choices key to good health

Our choices often lead to heart disease, diabetes, underage drinking, drugs, violence, and abuse. Soaring health and public safety costs are sometimes unfairly passed on to others. But more importantly, by ignoring or accepting selfish choices that cause the abuse, children, families and entire communities are destroyed. Government cannot cure all ills. And don’t assume more laws foisted on Alaskans are the only answer--most “bad activity” is already illegal. We have got to make wise, healthy personal choices, including choosing not to ignore child abuse. I’m counting on families, communities and faith-based groups to step up, together, to help passionately here, too.
Source: 2008 State of the State Address to 25th Alaska Legislature Jan 15, 2008

Sarah Palin: More affordable health care via competition

HEALTH CARE - Obviously, high medical costs are hurting Alaskans and our Medicaid budget has quadrupled in the past 10 years. Solutions to this problem are complex, and no one person has all the answers. I look forward to working with affected parties to find the necessary solutions that will lead to more affordable health care for Alaskans. I support flexibility in government regulations that allow competition in health care that is needed, and is proven to be good for the consumer, which will drive down health care costs and reduce the need for government subsidies. I also support patients in their rightful demands to have access to full medical billing information.
Source: Palin-Parnell campaign booklet: New Energy for Alaska Nov 3, 2006

  • The above quotations are from State of Alaska Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Health Care.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2020 Presidential contenders on Health Care:
  Democrats running for President:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (L-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (G-NY)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Howard Schultz(I-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
Republicans running for President:
Sen.Ted Cruz(R-TX)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich(R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence(R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Pres.Donald Trump(R-NY)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld(R-MA & L-NY)

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
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