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Alaska's Delegation Comments on Passage of Health Care Reform Bill
"Fully paid for" says Begich
Murkowski says "We can not afford it"
"The people's House turned its back on the people" says Young


March 24, 2010

(SitNews) - Each of Alaska's delegates released prepared statements voicing their positions on the House of Representatives' passage of the health care reform legislation Sunday night.

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) said in his prepared statement released Tuesday, "I was proud on Christmas Eve to cast my vote in favor of this historic legislation, which will save lives, save money and save Medicare. I am on the side of Alaska families, not on the side of the insurance industry. I am on the side of seniors who will see lower prescription drug prices, not on the side of the big drug companies. I am proud to be on the side of Alaska's small business, not on the side of business as usual."

Begich said, "The House on Sunday night passed the comprehensive Senate health insurance reform bill I voted for in December as part of a supermajority of 60 senators. House members also sent the Senate separate legislation strengthening health insurance reform. This legislation will allow an up or down vote to remove the special deals Alaskans have expressed concerns about. We will take up the bill today, and expect to pass it by the end of the week."

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) issued a prepared statement Sunday night after the House of Representatives passed the health care legislation:

Murkowski said, "Proponents of the partisan health care bill say that the public will like the bill once it is passed. Will they like the fact that Americans will have to pay four years of taxes before they get the benefits? That's like making mortgage payments for four years before you can move into your new home. Will they like that the legislation cuts Medicare by more than $500 billion at a time when the program is slated to go broke in seven years? Will they like a half trillion dollars in new taxes to help pay for a massive government expansion of health care? At a time when the nation's debt has reached historically high levels, and the economy remains in a deep recession with unemployment hovering near 10 percent, this is the wrong bill at the wrong time. At more than $2.6 trillion, the cost of the legislation in its first 10 years of full implementation, we cannot afford it."

In a prepared statement Sunday night Congressman Don Young (R-AK) said, "Today is a very bad day. Today, the people's House turned its back on the people."

Young said, "Today [Sunday], a bill was rammed down the throats of good Americans who trust us to preserve their freedoms and today, those freedoms were stifled. Thousands gathered on the National Mall this weekend to let their voices be heard because they are scared. They are scared that their liberties are being stomped on and they are scared of the government intrusion in their lives and they are right."

Young said, "This Administration force-fed America a bill that will increase premiums while growing inefficient government bureaucracy by establishing nearly 160 new boards, commissions, and programs. This bill doesn't include real health care reform, it's reform in name only. What we passed is composed of ego and partisanship, and does nothing to help Alaskans and nothing to help our country."

Begich said, "The process has been very transparent. The bills were debated in hearings and televised sessions of Congress for months. The Senate spent 25 consecutive days in session on health reform - the second longest session in history - for a total of 160 hours on the floor. In addition, despite complaints about lack of involvement from the other side of the aisle, the truth is the final Senate bill includes 147 minority party amendments. The President also hosted a bipartisan health care summit, which I was pleased to see televised," stated Begich in his prepared statement."

Begich said, "Alaskans will see many immediate benefits from reform:

  • Help for small business: Immediately, small businesses with fewer than 10 workers get a tax credit worth 35 percent of what they spend now on health insurance. It will eventually ramp up to a 50 percent tax credit, and firms with up to 25 workers will get a partial credit.
  • Coverage for preexisting conditions: Within three months, people with preexisting conditions who have had their insurance taken away will get help through a $5 billion fund to provide affordable coverage. Within six months insurance companies will no longer be able to deny children with illnesses. As the law ramps up eventually no American will be denied because of a preexisting condition.
  • Coverage for dependent children: Within six months, parents' health insurance will cover their dependent children up to age 26.
  • Free preventive care: Within six months, all insurance plans must provide free checkups - this includes seniors on Medicare."

Begich said, "Alaskans have been told the sky will fall if health reform passes, but that's just not true," said Begich. "The Senate bill contains the toughest insurance reforms in history. It creates a health insurance pool so people can get more affordable coverage. Americans who have insurance now get the peace of mind of knowing they won't lose it if they get sick or change jobs. Reform ends the status quo of families going broke because of unpaid medical bills."

Begich concluded his prepared statement saying, "The health reform bill is fully paid for. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says it will reduce the federal deficit by $143 billion in the first 10 years and up to $1.3 trillion in the second decade."


On the Web:

Alaska HC Facts distributed by Sen. Begich outlining some of the legislation's impact in Alaska.pdf (105.4 KBs)

United States Debt Clock


Source of News:

U.S. Senator Mark Begich

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski

Congressman Don Young

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Ketchikan, Alaska