By Dave Donaldson
Governor Parnell has until Friday to decide whether to accept a million dollar federal grant to help set up a state-run health insurance exchange that would give Alaskans and small businesses access to competitive information they can use to develop their own health insurance coverage.
Seven Democratic members of the Senate Majority wrote the governor urging him to accept the federal money. In their letter, they remind him of the alternative – if there is no state system in place, a Federal information exchange will be established for Alaskans to use.
Anchorage’s Johnny Ellis was one of the letter’s signers. He says Alaska is the only state that hasn’t started setting up an exchange – even among states that have challenged the overall federal Affordable Care Act.
Even if Gov. Parnell and the other governor’s who are suing over Health Care Reform and the individual mandate win at the Supreme Court – regardless of which way it goes – the health exchanges are still a good idea for everyone. And every other governor has recognized that. And we just want to work with our governor here in Alaska to convince him that the right thing for Alaska citizens – regardless of their political philosophy – is to move on with the exchanges.
Ellis says establishing a way for the public to compare health insurance policies was designed to encourage competition – calling it one part of the federal law that is market-driven. No legislation would be needed to accept the money or to set up the exchange.
NOTE: No response from governor’s office yet. If I get an answer, I’ll post an update on this story.