Summer is over and the November 3 General Election is around the corner. A little over two months later, on January 19, the 32nd Alaska Legislature will convene their first regular session in Alaska’s Capital City, Juneau.
Once again, the budget and the forecasted budget deficit is expected to dominate the debate and continue to be the focus of the legislature and administration. While many disagree with the exact budget numbers a status quo operating budget with a minimal capital budget and full statutory permanent fund dividend will produce a deficit in the $2.3 billion range. A budget that eliminates a PFD would bring the deficit down to around $350 million. While there will be many budget priorities debated health care and specifically health care costs will continue to be a part of the debate. The costs of Medicaid, state employee and retiree health care will be part of the debate. Your Alaska State Medical Association (ASMA) will be there, engaged with policy makers, to protect your patients and the health care interests of all Alaskans.
In addition to the budget the Alaska State Medical Association will be working with our elected officials on health care policy including: ensuring vaccines are accessible, protecting investments to WWAMI, issues around the prescription drug database, the creation of an all payor claims database, and ensuring providers’ scope of practice continue to protect the health care of Alaska patients.
Additionally, ASMA will continue the ongoing work with the State to be a resource for developing policies around COVID 19, including, hopefully, ensuring efficient dissemination and affordable access to COVID vaccinations once approved.
Please take the time as a leader in your community to engage with candidates during the campaign and our elected officials thereafter. It is critical that your Alaska State Medical Association has your support in advocating for health care policies that protect your patients.
Link to Alaska State Legislature with bill search: http://w3.akleg.gov/index.php