Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

02/09/2010 03:00 PM House HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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03:08:23 PM Start
03:08:44 PM Presentation by the Mat-su Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition.
04:08:26 PM HJR35
04:48:03 PM HB168
05:13:28 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation by the Mat-Su Substance TELECONFERENCED
Abuse Coalition
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  HJR 35-CONST AM: HEALTH CARE                                                                              
4:08:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                              
be  HOUSE JOINT  RESOLUTION  NO. 35  Proposing  amendments to  the                                                              
Constitution of  the State of  Alaska prohibiting passage  of laws                                                              
that interfere with  direct payments for health  care services and                                                              
the  right to  purchase  health care  insurance  from a  privately                                                              
owned  company, and  that  compel  a person  to  participate in  a                                                              
health care system.                                                                                                             
4:09:10 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MIKE KELLY,  Alaska  State Legislature,  discussed                                                              
the proposed national  health care system and the  backlash to the                                                              
mandated  single payer  system.   He  noted that  35 other  states                                                              
were  also in  opposition  to the  proposed  national health  care                                                              
system.   He  explained that  HJR 35  would protect  the right  to                                                              
choose participation  in any given  health care system,  and would                                                              
prohibit and  fines or  penalties for  failure to participate;  it                                                              
would  protect the  right to  purchase or  provide lawful  medical                                                              
services  without  government fines,  interference  or  penalties.                                                              
He  emphasized  that  HJR  35 would  place  these  rights  in  the                                                              
Constitution of the  State of Alaska.  He offered  his belief that                                                              
the majority  of Alaskans opposed  mandated health care,  and that                                                              
this mandate  could result in  a lawsuit.   He opined that  the U.                                                              
S.  Supreme Court  would lean  toward the  protection of  personal                                                              
choice of health care.                                                                                                          
4:14:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  declared that  he recognized the  intent of                                                              
HJR  35, and  he directed  attention  to the  proposed Section  2,                                                              
which  stated in  part: "no  law shall  be passed  that compels  a                                                              
person,  employer, or  health care  provider to  participate  in a                                                              
health  care system..."   He  asked if  this would  not allow  the                                                              
state to initiate a new tier of the retirement system.                                                                          
4:15:27 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   KELLY  replied  that   he  would  research   that                                                              
4:16:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   HOLMES  referred   to  Medicare,  Indian   Health                                                              
Services, and  other similar medical  plans, and pointed  out that                                                              
these  had limits  which violated  the language  of HJR  35.   She                                                              
expressed concern  that this  would tie  the hands of  legislators                                                              
for any  future changes and  pointed specifically to  the language                                                              
in Section  2 (b) which stated:  "prohibits a person from  or that                                                              
penalizes  a person  for making  direct payment  to a health  care                                                              
provider for tendering health care services."                                                                                   
4:18:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLY  offered his belief that HJR 35  did not have                                                              
any effect  on programs already in  place.  He reiterated  that it                                                              
reinforced personal choice.                                                                                                     
4:20:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HERRON  asked  Representative   Kelly  where  the  House                                                              
Health and  Social Services  Standing Committee  should focus  its                                                              
policy  debate,  and  then  where   he  believed  that  the  House                                                              
Judiciary Standing Committee would focus.                                                                                       
4:20:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLY suggested  that each  committee should  look                                                              
at whether  HJR 35 was "in  the best overall health  care interest                                                              
of the state."                                                                                                                  
4:22:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON  clarified that proposed  HJR 35 would be  held in                                                              
the  committee until  the following  week, and  he suggested  that                                                              
the House  Health and  Social Services  Standing Committee  debate                                                              
the health and social services aspect of it.                                                                                    
4:22:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  cited that  more than 100,000  Alaskans did                                                              
not have  health coverage.   She  shared that  there were  already                                                              
capacity problems  within the health  care system, and  she voiced                                                              
"that we are a  state that is addicted to addictions."   She asked                                                              
how HJR  35 addressed  the health  care problems  in Alaska.   She                                                              
noted the difficulty of access to health care for many Alaskans.                                                                
4:25:22 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLY,  in  response   to  Representative  Cissna,                                                              
disclosed  that he  had served  on  a hospital  foundation for  20                                                              
years.   He  agreed that  the current  health care  system was  in                                                              
need of  improvement.  He opined  that the government  element was                                                              
a  disincentive  for  doctors  and that  the  more  separated  the                                                              
patient  was  from  the  provider  and the  cost,  the  worse  the                                                              
situation became.   He offered  his belief  that the heart  of the                                                              
problem  for the  health care  system  was government  centralized                                                              
4:28:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  asked for clarifications that  HJR 35 would                                                              
not prevent  the federal government  from passing a law,  but that                                                              
it  would  stop  future  legislatures   from  adopting  a  federal                                                              
4:30:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLY replied  that  the least  effect  of HJR  35                                                              
would be  to send a signal  to the federal government  that Alaska                                                              
was  against additional  federal  controls  over medical  choices.                                                              
He said  the strictest  application would  be Alaska's  refusal to                                                              
comply with a federal mandate.                                                                                                  
4:32:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked  to  clarify  that  HJR  35  was  an                                                              
amendment to the  Constitution of the State of  Alaska to restrict                                                              
the legislature  from passing a law,  even if that law  was in the                                                              
public interest.   He questioned if the proposed  resolution would                                                              
prevent the  state from  adopting a  medical plan without  passing                                                              
or repealing a constitutional amendment.                                                                                        
4:33:58 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLY agreed.                                                                                                    
4:34:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T.  WILSON asked if Representative  Kelly had heard                                                              
any concerns from the public.                                                                                                   
4:34:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLY  replied that  worries  about  a "head  butt                                                              
with  the  federal  government"   and  complications  to  existing                                                              
programs were the two concerns.                                                                                                 
4:34:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  T.  WILSON  asked   if  those  two  concerns  were                                                              
stronger than  the "fear that people  have with being  forced into                                                              
a program  that they  don't want  and us sitting  back as  a state                                                              
acting like we don't care."                                                                                                     
4:35:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLY offered  his  belief  that the  overwhelming                                                              
response was in support of HJR 35.                                                                                              
4:35:23 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  KELLER, as  a  prime co-sponsor  of  the bill,  reported                                                              
that Arizona  had vetted  this legislation, and  that most  of the                                                              
questions  had already  been answered.   He  said that  "precisely                                                              
what  the bill does,  it forbids  any  law that we  have would  be                                                              
unconstitutional that  would forbid an individual in  the State of                                                              
Alaska  from  securing  medical   care  outside  of  the  required                                                              
medical system  that is there."   He opined that  the constitution                                                              
was the law  of the land and  that this resolution would  be voted                                                              
on by the people.                                                                                                               
4:37:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON  opened public  testimony and  said that  he would                                                              
hold it open.                                                                                                                   
4:37:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE PRAX  offered his support  for HJR 35  as it "might set  up a                                                              
confrontation between  the state  and the federal  government over                                                              
this   particular   issue."      He  opined   that   the   federal                                                              
administration  assumed  it had  absolutely  authority and  power.                                                              
He  asked   that  the  resolution   be  passed  to   protect  "the                                                              
individual right to make decisions."                                                                                            
4:39:21 PM                                                                                                                    
PEGGY  ANN   MCCONNOCHIE,  National   Federation  of   Independent                                                              
Business  (NFIB),  shared that  she  and  her husband  were  small                                                              
business owners.   She  offered her belief  that the  single payer                                                              
health  care system  did  not  fit for  Alaskans,  as  it did  not                                                              
provide  lower  cost,  greater   availability,  or  choice.    She                                                              
emphasized  that   she  was  totally  against  what   the  federal                                                              
government was trying  to do.  She offered her  opinion that small                                                              
business owners  would easily go  out of business  with additional                                                              
federal fees.   She encouraged the protection of  small businesses                                                              
from unreasonable  taxation, and any mandates for  health care for                                                              
4:42:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRISTIE  HERRERA,  Director,  Health   and  Human  Services  Task                                                              
Force,  American Legislative  Exchange  Council (ALEC),  explained                                                              
that  ALEC was  a  non-partisan organization  of  lawmakers.   She                                                              
offered  support for  HJR  35.   She offered  the  belief that  it                                                              
would ensure  continued access  to health  services and  the right                                                              
to pay  directly for health  services.   She opined that  it would                                                              
stop mandates that  did not work, as a government  requirement for                                                              
health insurance  was ineffective, bureaucratic, and  costly.  She                                                              
summarized that the  cornerstone of any reform  was the protection                                                              
of patients' rights.                                                                                                            
4:45:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  directed attention to the  proposed Section                                                              
2, which stated  in part: "no law  shall be passed that  compels a                                                              
person,  employer, or  health care  provider to  participate  in a                                                              
health care system..."   He asked if this issue had  arisen in any                                                              
other jurisdiction  and would it  restrict the state's  ability to                                                              
initiate a new tier of the state retirement system.                                                                             
MS.  HERRERA agreed  with  Representative Kelly  that  this was  a                                                              
forward  looking  bill, and  would  not affect  current  programs.                                                              
She  stated that  there was  no intent  to affect  any safety  net                                                              
programs.   She  agreed  that it  would  preclude  the state  from                                                              
enacting an individual  or an employer mandate  to purchase health                                                              
4:47:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON stated that he would keep public testimony open.                                                                
[HJR 35 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HJR35pkt.PDF HHSS 2/9/2010 3:00:00 PM
hb168r09a.PDF HHSS 2/9/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 168
hb168r09b.PDF HHSS 2/9/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 168
hb168r10.PDF HHSS 2/9/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 168
MSAPC.PDF HHSS 2/9/2010 3:00:00 PM