I am grateful I was able to spend the Thanksgiving holiday at home in Alaska with my family. It reminded me to appreciate the things in life that truly matter. Deborah and I have been blessed with a healthy son, a supportive family, good friends who have become like family to us, and wonderful parents who inspire us every day. I am especially thankful for my mom, Pegge, who celebrated her 75th birthday this year. It reminds me that good health is something we should never take for granted.
In an effort to keep Alaskans healthy and give consumers more choices when purchasing health insurance, I introduced legislation in November calling for the creation of "copper plans" within the Affordable Care Act. These plans would give consumers the choice of paying lower premiums if they are willing to pay more for out-of-pocket medical costs. I have never been shy about calling for a fix when it is needed and this new bill is just one of the ways we can—and should—make the health care law work better for Alaskans.
These copper plans provide Alaskans with additional choices, lower premiums and more control over their health care choices. I was pleased that after months of pressuring the administration, the approximately 5,000 Alaskans who purchased private insurance plans will have the option to stay on their current health care for another year on their current plans. This extension does not prevent Alaskans from switching to a new plan where they may qualify for subsidies to lower monthly payments.
I will spend the remainder of 2013 working to continue to improve the Affordable Care Act and to pass legislation to fund and support our troops here in Alaska and across the nation. Whether you are celebrating Chanukah, looking forward to Christmas or Kwanzaa, or planning for the New Year, I look forward to working hard in the Senate on issues that matter to all Alaskans.
Senator Mark Begich