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October 31, 2014

Virgin Islands’ Exemption From Health Care Law Prompts Alaska Plea

murkowski 088 0501314 445x296 Virgin Islands Exemption From Health Care Law Prompts Alaska Plea

Murkowski. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Last week, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner released a letter to a Virgin Islands official releasing U.S. territories from insurance requirements mandated by the 2010 health care overhaul law. On Friday, Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski weighed in the matter.

Murkowski urged similar consideration of states with small populations:

The administration needs to recognize the unique needs of the territories as well as small population states like Alaska where premiums under the healthcare law have seen double and triple digit increases for some Alaskans from 2013 to 2014.

They said their hands were tied, and now they’ve decided it’s in their interest to untie them. I wish this administration would listen to the interests of Americans struggling with the skyrocketing premiums and no improved access to care. Enough with the political calculations; let’s look at Americans’ household budgets and truly improve health care.”

  • odb2

    before the knee jerk reactions start I would really like to see the statistics on these premiums

  • Jon Boy

    So here’s the “knee jerk” reaction. Obama said we will REDUCE your costs. Is anyone really surprised? You are going to provide more coverage to more people and REDUCE the cost. The most amazing thing is that some people actually believed him.

  • jack

    Ak has a high rate of welfare and low income people,seems like the ACA would have helped them.

  • Becky Wegner-Kempl

    I wonder, does remote Alaska even have computer to sign up for ACA? I would think not

  • Mort Leith

    I just was FORCED off of my GREAT insurance with Aetna and went from paying $367/month with great benefits,
    to now paying $570/month with LESS benefits, and higher Deductible ! !

    Over $200/month MORE !
    but now I have Maternity and Birth Control (I’m almost 60 yrs old), so if I go out this weekend and get knocked up,, I;m GOOD ! !!

  • Susan

    I have never in my life commented on a news article but there is a serious omission in the above article. The Virgin Islands may have received an “exemption” recently from the ACA I believe that was more of a formality. Because we are a territory rather than a state we did not qualify for the same level of federal support dollars. Our governor had the option of choosing between expanding medicaid or trying to set up an exchange. The federal dollars were just not sufficient to set up an exchange so medicaid expansion was the decision. Undoubtedly many people that needed help with medical bills did get more help. On the other hand, no one independantly employed in the Virgin Islands with preexisting conditions can get insurance. Period. Not available here. Adding to that as we do not have large industry a higher percentage of our population is independently employed. I no of no one here that thought of it as anything but a blow when we did not have full access to the ACA. So it stings a bit to read Murkowski using the VI as a comparison. Our lack of participation in ACA has nothing at all to do with remoteness. It has to do with our territorial status and how it affected our access to federal assistance.

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