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House Majority E-News for Dec 28, 2009 ANS Crude: $80.77 Henry Hub: $5.90

Keller Pre-Files Two Bills for 2010 Legislative Session

(Wasilla) - Representative Wes Keller, R-Wasilla, pre-filed two
pieces of legislation that intend to conserve state money and improve
the quality of public assistance in Alaska.

The first piece of legislation intends to expand the use of
preventative care for all recipients of Medicaid. "We all know the old
adage 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,'" Keller said.
"This bill will allow Medicaid recipients to work with their
healthcare professionals to determine ways to prevent medical
problems. I believe if any of us identifies a potential medical
problem early we will be more likely to make healthy choices to
address the problem and that it will ultimately cost less to be
treated for problems."

The second public assistance bill plans to examine one of those
choices-specifically, the abuse of drugs and alcohol. The proposed
measure allows the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services to
conduct random drug and alcohol abuse testing on individuals receiving
public assistance checks from the government. "The goal of public
assistance is to lend a helping hand to individuals who find
themselves in tough circumstances. Almost all of us could use a hand
at some time in our life and public assistance is intended to provide
compassionate temporary help," Keller said. "A person's choice to use
drugs and alcohol while accepting public money is not consistent with
the goal of returning to the dignity of self-sufficiency. While I
respect and defend an individual's right to make legal choices, that
does not mean the government should subsidize choices that are clearly
bad. Simply giving money to a person trapped by addiction only makes
the problem worse."

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