Monthly Archives: February 2008

Online Tutorial of Women's Health policy Issues presents a newly expanded tutorial on women’s health policy by Alina Salganicoff, Ph.D., Kaiser vice president and director of women’s health policy. The narrated slide tutorial provides an overview of women’s health care needs and concerns, discusses issues of importance for women related to their health coverage and access to care, and reviews the central policy challenges in improving women’s access to care. is an online resource for faculty, students, and the general public presented by the Kaiser Family Foundation. is designed to provide those interested in learning about health policy easy access to the latest data, research, analysis, and developments in health policy. This site includes narrated slide tutorials, background reference libraries, and issue modules on current topics and policy debates. It is a fascinating and extremely useful resource.  Please take a look at it, poke around, and learn a lot!

Hungry Children Can't Learn

Last week Food Bank of Alaska and the Alaska Food Coalition released a new report on school breakfast in Alaska. In conjunction with the release of the study and a request for funding for school breakfasts, the Coalition held a breakfast for legislators at the Capitol Tuesday, February 12.

The Coalition’s report says that 8,500 low-income students do not even have the opportunity to get a breakfast at school. The Legislature is being asked to put aside $1 million as an inducement for breakfast programs, which in turn would leverage federal funds.

Susannah Morgan of the Food Bank noted that the K-12 education budget is around $1 billion. “What we want to do is make sure that that money is well-spent, that those kids are actually learning what we’re putting our money into, that they are learning and getting the best education they can by being nutritionally prepared to learn,” she said.

The executive summary of the report follows: Read the rest of this entry

An Expiration Date on Health?

Here in America, turning “sweet sixteen” is a coming of age; a rite of passage into a new phase of life and the beginning of what we hope to be great. However, for the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), it has been sixteen years since it was last authorized in 1992. And it is about time that the IHCIA enters its own “sweet sixteen” by being reauthorized. It would be an end to a deteriorating health system, and a new beginning of improved healthcare for the American Indian and Alaska Native people. The Act had expired in the year 2000, and since then, its renewal has met opposition from the Bush administration. Read the rest of this entry

Make Alaska's Minimum Wage a Living Wage

In my opinion Senator Elton is one of the more articulate proponents of sound public policy for the people of Alaska. For that reason I would like to republish a substantial selection from the February 1, 2008 issue of his newsletter, off the record.

Sometimes we mean well, but we mean well without oomph. So it is with the gap between the cost of living in Alaska and our stagnant Alaska minimum wage. SB 187 is a modest and reasonable attempt to put some horsepower into our intentions to narrow the widening gap. (Full disclosure: I’m a co-prime sponsor of this bill with Sens. Bill Wielechowski and Joe Thomas.)

SB 187 takes Alaska’s minimum wage from $7.15 an hour to $8 an hour in 2009 then adjusts the minimum wage annually for inflation in the out years. For many of us, this means nothing. But 14,000 of our Alaska neighbors will live slightly less close to the margin if we do what is right. At $7.15 an hour, a worker earns less than the federal poverty level for a family of two. Many of these very low wage folks are sole wage earners and many are parents.

Read the rest of this entry