Legislation

Federal

The Affordable Care Act
 
The Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010. Its goal is to give better health security by holding insurance companies accountable, lowering health care costs, and enhancing the quality of care for all Americans. The Act will not be implemented all at once, and portions of the law have already taken effect. The Affordable Care Act builds a bridge to 2014 when a new insurance marketplace will be established.

The provisions that will take over the next several years will include:

  • expanding Medicaid eligibility for people;
  • subsidizing insurance premiums for people so their maximum "out-of-pocket" payment for annual premiums will be on sliding scale;
  • providing incentives for businesses to provide health care benefits;
  • prohibiting denial of coverage and denial of claims based on pre-existing conditions;
  • establishing health insurance exchanges;
  • prohibiting insurers from establishing annual coverage caps; and 
  • support for medical research.

Local

The Alaska Health Care Commission

The Alaska Health Care Commission was recently established in state statute with the passage of Senate Bill 172 to serve as the state health planning and coordinating body, responsible for providing recommendations to the governor and the legislature on a comprehensive statewide health care policy and on strategies for improving the health of Alaskans.  The Commission was first established by Governor Palin on December 4, 2008 and the commission members were appointed on January 27, 2009. They met throughout 2009 and produced a report on the Commission's findings and recommendations in January 2010. Recommendations by the Commission included spending considerably more money to train new doctors and lure more already-qualified doctors into the state. These recommendations and more can be found in a summary written by the Anchorage Daily News.