Monthly Archives: March 2013

The ‘Urban in Alaska’ Conference, March 29

Friday, March 29, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Student Union 1st Floor, Den – University of Alaska Anchorage

Free and open to the public

For most people, Alaska conjures up images of wild and vast wilderness; yet more than half of Alaskans actually live in urban areas. This workshop and conference is for scholars and community members to engage in dialogue about urban studies in Alaska. Topics will include: architecture, public space and urban design; health, education and food; labor, migration and refugees.

For more information and a list of speakers, please visit the UAA website.

Affordable Care Act and Implications of Medicaid Expansion in Alaska

By Christine Brubaker-Schauble, RN

Due to the complexity and scope of Medicaid expansion-related ACA provisions, much is still unknown about how Medicaid expansion would alter the structure of current state-funded programs for the uninsured and other health care delivery stakeholders such as hospitals, clinics, clinicians, employers, private insurers, and Tribal health organizations. Alaska Center for Public Policy in collaboration with Christine Brubaker-Schauble will work to summarize components of the ACA and provide a roadmap to published information relevant to various stakeholder groups. When publications with quality Alaska-specific data are not available, summaries of national-level data/information supplemented with key informant interviews will be provided.

Alaska’s health care delivery system has both cutting-edge innovations (such as the Community Health Aide Program and telemedicine) and substantial challenges to overcome (such as how to keep vaccine viable when delivering to rural communities via unheated bush plane). Our issues are unique as compared to the Lower 48 states so in the end only Alaskans know the answers to questions like, “Will an expanded Alaska Medicaid program meet the health care needs of low-income Alaskans and if not, what alternatives do we have for meeting those needs?”

This project seeks to give practical information to Alaska decision-makers and health policy experts on the potential impact of opting for a Medicaid program expansion. A series of policy briefings will be published in segments during the remainder of the 2013 legislative session and throughout the summer, and will include

  • a review of key components of the Medicaid expansion provision and how it fits within the context of the ACA as a whole,
  • an overview of the Medicaid program in Alaska, and
  • key informant interviews with stakeholders, providers, and organizations in Alaska.

Keep reading…

Access the full list of resources utilized for this paper here. Your comments are also appreciated. 

The 2013 County Health Rankings Are Released!

In its fourth year, the County Health Rankings show that how long and how well people live depends on multiple factors including rates of smoking, education, and access to healthy food. They also help to lay the groundwork for governors, mayors, business leaders, and citizens across the country to take action to improve health. Some national trends this year show:

  • Child poverty rates have not improved since 2000, with more than one in five children living in poverty.
  • Violent crime has decreased by almost 50 percent over the past two decades.
  • The counties where people don’t live as long and don’t feel as well have the highest rates of smoking, teen births, and physical inactivity, as well as more preventable hospital stays.
  • Teen birth rates are more than twice as high in the least healthy counties than in the healthiest counties.

This year the County Health Rankings are easier to use than ever with interactive maps and new county-level trend graphs detailing changes over time for several measures, including premature death, children in poverty, and unemployment.

How healthy is your county? Check it out here!


From the Commonwealth Fund Blog: The Cost of 30 Years of Unsustainable Health Spending Growth in the United States

“The United States has by far the most expensive health care system of any country in the world. Health spending constitutes more than 18 percent of the U.S. economy, compared with less than 10 percent in the average industrialized country. And not only is health spending high, it is projected to rise faster than gross domestic product over the next 10 years.”

View the full article by David Squires here.


Seriously Important Federal Budget Choices: What’s Next?

Confused about the many federal budget steps? Ellen Nissenbaum of the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities is leading a live webinar to help provide clarity and an expert explanation of where things stand now. The free webinar is open to the public, and attendees will be given the opportunity to ask questions at the end. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

Background: Many are already feeling the impact of the sequestration cuts, and decisions made in the next few months will have a lasting impact on vital safety net programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and SNAP/food stamps. If Congress fails to act, the automatic cuts will keep happening. This webinar will cover:

  • The ways Congress and the Administration may bridge their differences in the months ahead – and how that affects all of us.
  • Practical steps you can take to fight off efforts to slash services.

Date: Friday, March 22, 2013

Time: 8:00 AM AKDT

Estimated Length: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Register here