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Begich Works to Ensure Alaskans Have More Choice in Healthcare Marketplace

December 2, 2013

Begich Works to Ensure Alaskans Have More Choice in Healthcare Marketplace

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.


Sincerely,
Digital Signature
Senator Mark Begich

 



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Honoring Code Talkers - Sen. Begich attended a ceremony honoring Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and 32 other tribes from across the country with the Congressional Gold Medal for their critical service and unrecognized role as code talkers during both World Wars. Senator Begich joins Commander William "Ozzie" Sheakley and his son, Jeff David Jr.

 

 

Upcoming Events

December 23, 2013
11:00 a.m. (Alaska)
Ring bells for Salvation Army
Anchorage: J.C. Penney


December 27, 2013
12:00 p.m. (Alaska)
Hmong Center of Alaska, Inc. New Year Celebration
Anchorage: DOME of Anchorage Sports Center


 
 
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Begich Opposes Phones on Planes

In an effort maintain in-flight safety and to prevent the escalation of in-flight noise and distractions, Senator Begich sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler to express his opposition to permitting cell phone calls during commercial flights. "Like most Alaskans, I spend a lot of time on airplanes," said Begich. "Putting the nuisance factor aside, I’m concerned this could present a serious flight-safety issue. We need people to be paying attention to cockpit announcements and the flight attendants, not talking on the phone." Sen. Begich is a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, which oversees the FCC. The FCC is currently considering a rule to allow cell phone calls during commercial flights.

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Fun, Festive and Freezing - Sen. Begich joined fellow Alaskans who braved freezing temperatures to attend the annual Anchorage tree-lighting ceremony the day after Thanksgiving.

Helping Vets Transition to Civilian Employment - Sen. Begich invited Brandon McGuire to a senate roundtable discussion on transitioning veterans to civilian employment. Mr. McGuire explained what the United Association Plumbers and Steamfitters Union Local 367 is doing to help Alaska vets land jobs.

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Begich Calls for More Arctic Icebreakers in Response to Release of DOD Arctic Strategy

Senator Begich urged Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to swiftly assess the need for greater icebreaking capacity in the Arctic in response to the recently released Department of Defense (DOD) Arctic Strategy. Sen. Begich is sponsoring an amendment to the national defense authorization bill to authorize up to four additional icebreakers, which are necessary because of increased shipping traffic and development. Begich also pressed the DOD to continue to frequently assess the need for a greater Coast Guard presence in the Arctic as well. Senator Begich sits on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies and is also the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and the Coast Guard. "I am pleased to see the Department of Defense realize the importance of the Arctic region and the role it plays in our national security," said Begich. "As ice continues to make way for increased shipping routes and offshore development, the Arctic region holds unlimited economic potential for the U.S. and Alaska in particular, with the potential to create thousands of jobs and bring greater energy security to our country."

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Happy New Year - Sen. Begich and son Jacob join members of the Hmong Alaska Community, Inc. to celebrate the Hmong New Year in Anchorage.

Holiday Story Time - Sen. Begich reads to Anchorage youngsters during the annual Police Navidad event which pairs local officers with children in need.

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Begich Proposes Bill to Improve Quality of Life for Members of Coast Guard and their Families

Continuing to uphold his commitment to the U.S. Coast Guard, Sen. Begich recently introduced legislation that would improve the quality of life for members of the Coast Guard and their families by expanding the availability of quality child care, creating educational opportunities for spouses of active duty members and smoothing the transition to post-service life. "With over 42,000 active duty members in the Coast Guard and many of them being away for days if not weeks at a time, it is so important that we provide a good quality life for both service members and their families," said Begich. "Active duty life for members of our armed services, especially maritime life, can be chaotic for spouses and families and this bill makes it a little bit easier for those families to get an education, transition to post-service life, and create better learning and childcare opportunities for kids."

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This week's website features
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Focus on Public Safety Inequities

Helping Hand for Alaskans

Sen. Begich calls for a special hearing on the recently released Indian Law and Order Commission report.

Sen. Begich praised the Pacific Seafood Processors Association for their donation of 40,000 lbs. of salmon to the residents of St. Lawrence Island who are facing a food shortage this season.

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