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Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on health care issues


Some coverage of health issues under her administration:

Palin promotes health care bill (Jan. 24, 2008; Juneau Empire)

The Alaska Health Care Transparency Act was intended to "provide consumers with factual information on quality, cost and similar matters, provided by a new health care information office."

Karleen Jackson, Alaska Commissioner of Health and Social Services resigns (May 9, 2008; KTOO public radio, Juneau)

"Jackson has been with the department since 2003, when she became deputy HSS commissioner in the Murkowski administration. She took over as commissioner in 2005 and was not replaced when Governor Palin took office last year. But Jackson says she recently compared notes with Palin and it was clear they had a difference of opinion. She says she offered her resignation and the governor accepted. Jackson declined to be more specific."

Palin lets drug bill become law (June 12, 2008; Anchorage Daily News)

Palin allowed a bill to establish a prescription drug database, intended to block the distribution of medications to people who don't need them,.to become law without her signature. She was willing to allow the bill become law because prescription drug abuse is a problem in her state but she had privacy concerns about the database.

Here's one way to cut health care costs, improve quality (Feb. 25, 2008; Anchorage Daily News)

Gov. Palen wrote an op-ed advocating ending the Certificate of Need program, saying that doing so would lower costs for consumers. She said repealing it would allow consumers to make better choices and tht the program is used by lobbyists and health-care organizations to limit competition. Read more on The Wall Street Journal's Health Blog.


Palin's gubernatorial campaign Web site, available through the Wayback Machine, says this about health care:

"High costs are hurting Alaskans. Nationwide we see soaring costs adversely affecting our families and businesses. In Alaska, our Medicaid budget has quadrupled in the past 10 years. It's a vicious cycle caused by fewer people being able to pay for services, which forces more government subsidies, resulting in even higher costs. Too often the driver of rising costs is a lack of competition. Sarah supports consideration of legislative and regulatory changes allowing competition that's good for the consumer. She also supports the right of patients to have access to their medical billing information."

State of the State Address (Jan. 15, 2008)

"We're addressing another big challenge: the availability and cost of health care. I established our Health Care Strategies Council and I appreciate the outstanding volunteers who served. 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. And we will allow competition. Under our present Certificate of Need 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. But comprehensive reform must include not only government reform, but Alaskans choosing to take more personal responsibility. All Alaskans must do better to be better, and healthier."

Press release: Palin Introduces the Health Care Transparency Act (Jan. 17, 2008)

The act would "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."

Press release: Governor continues senior benefits (May 23, 2007)

"Using an emergency regulation, Governor Palin will authorize cash payments to continue for at least a month after the SeniorCare Program sunsets on June 30, 2007.

"Governor Palin had included funding for the Longevity Bonus Program and the SeniorCare Program, in the FY 08 operating budget, however that funding was removed by the Legislature."

Press release: Governor Palin names four to alcoholism, drug abuse board (Oct. 8, 2007)

"The board advises the governor, legislature and state agencies on alcohol- or drug abuse-related mental health issues, on the design of prevention and treatment programs, and on public education efforts. It also reviews grant applications to the Department of Health and Social Services, and works with the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority to design programs for alcoholics with psychosis."

Council presents health care strategies report to governor, legislature (Alaska Dept. of Health & Social Services publication, Winter 2007)

Palin established the Alaska Health Care Strategies Planning Council to develop a plan to address cost, quality and access to health care for Alaskans. The council examined other state health reform models, the problems of Alaska’s uninsured, health-care infrastructure, work force development, insurance and the Alaska Tribal Health System. Data were assembled from health-care studies, reports and presentations from specialists.

State’s Denali KidCare expands coverage (Alaska Dept. of Health & Social Services publication, Winter 2007)

Palin signed a bill in July 2007 that the state claims would mean an additional 1,280 children would be insured by the state's DenaliKid Care program.

Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services

Alaska Health Care Strategies Planning Council: Palin created the Alaska Health Care Strategies Planning Council on Feb. 13, 2007, to advise the governor and legislature on ways to effectively provide access to quality health care and to help reduce the costs of health care for Alaskans.

Palin has been a member of Feminists for Life, an organization that says it is "dedicated to systematicaly eliminating the root causes that drive women to abortion," since 2006.