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Juneau's healthcare prices top nation

Posted: March 31, 2014 - 12:04am

ANCHORAGE — A new study says four Alaska cities have the costliest health care prices in the nation.

Juneau was the costliest city for health care that was listed in the report released last week by the Council for Community and Economic Research, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Second on the list was Fairbanks, followed by Kodiak. Anchorage was fourth on the list, followed by Everett, Wash., and Boston.

The national research council measured 300 cities based on average 2013 prices for visits with physicians, dentists and optometrists.

The report says the average cost for a full vision eye exam in Anchorage was $166. That’s almost 72 percent higher than the national average.

A general physical in Anchorage averaged $166, about 63 percent higher than the national average. A teeth cleaning in Anchorage cost $124 on average, or 42 percent more than the national average.

Some health care professionals blame Anchorage’s high prices on the steep cost of such things as shipping, salaries and rents. Economists said costly health care affects the entire community. Health care professionals and economists said they have begun to form coalitions to address the costs.

“This isn’t just a low-income issue, it’s a community issue,” said Bill Popp, president of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp., which collected the data for the research council. “This affects everybody.”

Julie Taylor, the CEO of Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage, moved to the city from Colorado early this year. She said doctors and nurses in Anchorage earn at least 30 percent more, not including sign-on bonuses or relocation expenses.

“You pay tens of thousands of dollars to get them up here and then you hope they stay,” Taylor said. “Some people can come up here and live here for three years and then they say, ‘We’re going back to the lower 48.’”

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Tom Leston
Tom Leston 03/31/14 - 07:58 am
Sean Parnell refused to

Sean Parnell refused to expand Medicaid in Alaska, but he will direct multi-millions to build a road to help a private company (Kensignton Mine).
I think Alaskans living below the poverty line should get help; not companies that can afford to pay CEO's multimillion dollar salaries.

Elva Bontrager
Elva Bontrager 03/31/14 - 07:51 am
Juneau Prices?

The article first mentions that Juneau has the highest priced health care, while Anchorage, it says, is #4. It then goes on to detail Anchorage's prices. What about Juneau?

Kelly Flynn
Kelly Flynn 03/31/14 - 08:35 am

Hi Tom, how would an expansion of medicaid push costs of healthcare down?

Tom Leston
Tom Leston 03/31/14 - 09:21 am
Poor health drives costs up.

Poor health drives costs up. If people can get health care then they are healthier so costs go down. The people that can't afford health insurance use the emergency room which costs us more.

Tom Leston
Tom Leston 03/31/14 - 09:48 am
Parnell did an incredible

Parnell did an incredible disserve to Alaskans and to our economy by not expanding Medicaid.
Parnell basically cut off his nose to spite the face.

"Cutting off the nose to spite the face" is an expression used to describe a needlessly self-destructive over-reaction to a problem: "Don't cut off your nose to spite your face" is a warning against acting out of pique, or against pursuing revenge in a way that would damage oneself more than the object of one's anger."

Parnell let his anger and temper - hurt the people he is supposed to be helping.

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