Knowles has a comprehensive plan

Posted: Sunday, November 05, 2006

One issue affecting all Alaskans is health, including prevention of disease and injury, and access to quality, affordable health care services.

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Tony Knowles has the most comprehensive agenda of all the major gubernatorial candidates, including creating the Council on Health Care Solutions, expanding Denali Kid Care to more children, health insurance buying pools for small businesses, more public health preventive services, expanded education and training for health care providers, health education in schools, allowing adult children to stay on parents' health insurance policies longer, encouraging more doctors to serve Medicare patients, expansion of tele-medicine programs and encouraging the Veterans Administration to provide more health care services in Alaska.

There was significant progress on some of these issues in his previous administration (for example, Denali Kid Care, public health, education and training, tele-medicine), with significantly less state revenues, so it's reasonable to expect that a future Knowles administration would accomplish many of these goals.

I recommend also putting more emphasis on primary prevention of injuries and violence and continued improvements in Alaska's trauma care system.

Sarah Palin's campaign provides very little information about her health agenda, except for brief statements about promoting competition in health care and better access to full patient billing information.

Andrew Halcro's campaign provides a little more information, but it focuses primarily on promoting competition in health care, transparent pricing and updating the state's health plan.

Because the Alaska Constitution provides for the "promotion and protection of public health," I would like to see more health agenda details from Palin and Halcro.

Mark Johnson


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