Rep. Wool’s Newsletter: Fighting to Lower Health Insurance Costs

Rep. Wool Newsletter

I was working on this week’s enewsletter about my bill to lower health insurance costs by reforming the rate review process, and then news broke yesterday afternoon that makes this bill even more important. Yesterday, the Division of Insurance announced it was cancelling Moda Health’s ability to sell or renew health insurance plans in Alaska. This leaves Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield as the only company selling individual health insurance, and now that one provider has a monopoly it is more important than ever that we a strong rate review process to protect Alaskans from unfair prices.

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Rep. Wool’s Newsletter: Thank you Fairbanks for sending your thoughts on the budget!

Rep. Wool Newsletter

Thank you for filling out my 2015 State Budget Survey. I received over 200 responses, and I appreciate each of you taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns about our state budget. It was clear from many of your responses that you understand there are no easy answers to solving the budget shortfall, and it will require a combination of cuts and new revenues. I enjoyed reading all your comments and ideas, and appreciate that you took the time to share them with me. As I begin the legislative session, it helps me to know what your priorities are.

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Rep. Wool’s Newsletter: Public Comment Needed TODAY and Third Special Session Update

Rep. Wool Newsletter

On October 24 the Legislature started the third special session of the year. This session is dedicated to the AK LNG natural gas pipeline project. Governor Walker has proposed buying out TransCanada’s interest in this project. Under the law passed under former Governor Parnell, TransCanada is contracted to manage Alaska’s ownership in this project, but Governor Walker believes it would be better for Alaska to buyout this contract and represent itself. I am inclined to agree, but I am committed to making sure this is the best decision to make sure a pipeline gets built and brings gas to Alaskans. Building the pipeline is probably more important to Fairbanks than anywhere else in the state. Although heating oil may be at a low price now it will surely be higher sometime in the future so a good reliable source of cheap natural gas is essential. Fairbanks would also welcome a huge boost to the economy resulting from the construction of a megaproject like a gas pipeline. I will work hard to make sure this happens.

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Rep. Wool’s Newsletter: Medicaid Expansion, Denali Park Needs Your Input, and Fairbanks Events

Rep. Wool Newsletter

The leaves are almost gone and fall is starting to wind down here in Fairbanks. September brought the official beginning of Medicaid expansion, making health care available to up to 40,000 Alaskans. It’s always good to be an Alaskan, but it feels even better now that we’ve gone through with this expansion.​ I wanted to send you an update on what’s happening and bring attention to some upcoming events in our community.

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Rep. Wool’s Newsletter: Why is the State of Alaska Suing Itself?! And Fox Spring Update

Rep. Wool Newsletter

It’s been a pretty bizarre week in the Legislature. The Legislative Council voted 10-1 to sue the state to attempt to prevent Medicaid expansion from providing 40,000 Alaskans access to healthcare while saving the state millions of dollars a year. I won’t go into all of the details about why expansion is good for Alaska and good for Fairbanks, but you can read the article I wrote for the Fairbanks Daily News Miner last month.

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Rep. Wool’s Newsletter: Fairbanks Gas Bill Becomes Law; Update on Local Road Construction

Rep. Wool Newsletter

Last week Governor Walker took an important step towards lowering energy costs in Fairbanks by signing HB 105 into law. This enables the Interior Energy Project to purchase natural gas from Cook Inlet to bring to Fairbanks. Previously they were only authorized to buy gas from the North Slope, which proved to be too expensive. Passing this bill was not easy- after it passed through the House Energy Committee, which I’m a member of, the House Resources Committee added amendments that could have killed the project. Luckily, the Interior Delegation rallied together across party lines and we were able to remove those amendments.

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Rep. Wool’s Newsletter: Legislative Session Adjourns: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Rep. Wool Newsletter

My first session as your representative in the State House finally ended on Thursday. This isn’t the first time that session has gone into overtime, but it was the longest extension in a while. There used to be no set length, it just ended when everything was finished or when fishermen and farmers had to go back to work. I don’t think there are many fishermen or farmers in the legislature right now, but some do have regular jobs during the year, myself included.

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Rep. Wool’s Newsletter: Overtime News: Standing up for Fairbanks Schools

Rep. Wool Newsletter

The legislative session has moved into overtime to finalize the budget. I am disappointed that we were not able to reach an agreement yet, but there is too much at stake to go home before the job is done. At stake is whether the Legislature will adequately fund our schools, allow the Interior Energy Project to go forward, and pass Medicaid expansion and reform that Alaska’s business community has been championing with Governor Walker.

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