Medicaid Advisory Group meets | Jeff Davis and Valerie Davidson | A 3rd plan on the Exchange?

Summer is upon us. Many of us will leave health care behind for some portion of the season to go an play. Others might get a little too intimate with the healthcare system as a result of playing too hard!

So, in the spirit of eagerness for the camp sites and hiking trails awaiting many of us this summer, we bring you May’s edition of 5 Things We’re Watching – which includes topics in play now, but which will be even more the case when we all refocus on work come the fall.

DJ 5 things updated

1. Medicaid Advisory Group gets work underway

“Medicaid” continues to be the most common answer I get when I ask folks “What are you watching?”  Now that the Medicaid Advisory Group has been formed and gotten underway, I expect this answer will remain unchanged through the end of the year.

The first meeting was held last month, and included a comprehensive review of Medicaid from Margaret Brodie, which was a particularly good overall summary of the program.  The agenda for the May 28th meeting includes a report on North Carolina’s reform efforts.  It also includes an outline for repealing Obamacare, including the patient protection elements, promoted by Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana which he launched in April.

2. Jeff Davis and Valerie Davidson move on

Two of my favorite people in Alaskan healthcare are leaving their current positions for a little relaxation:  Jeff Davis at Premera and Valerie Davidson at ANTHC.

I understand from Premera that Jeff will be retiring to a rural community where he can unwind a little, and focus time on his family after working so hard for so long in Alaska.  Valerie let me know by email that she’ll take the summer off for some relaxation before re-engaging again in the fall in a new position.

They have both been central figures in the success of State of Reform, and we wish them all the best in what comes next.



3. Three plans to file for Exchange?

Last year, when Moda filed to join Premera on the exchange, it came as a bit of surprise for some.  In 2015, it looks increasingly likely there will be at least one other surprise in the form of a third plan on the exchange.

At least, that’s what some of our broker friends are saying they are hearing.  It strikes us that either Aetna or United is the most likely to enter the market, following a strategy plans are employing for 2015 in other states.  We should start to hear more definitively about applications in June.

Have you checked out our new job board?

Positions from Alaska, Washington State, and Oregon all at!

4. Watching the money in the 2014 state campaigns

In an election like the Governor’s race, there isn’t much in the way of public polling.  And, that which does exist is difficult to trust in Alaska, where polling is uniquely difficult.

What you can watch is the money.   As of this writing, Sean Parnell had raised $407,254 for his re-election, with $331,032 cash on hand.  Byron Mallott had raised $234,354 with $46,217 cash on hand.  Those are the latest numbers, but they are from February.  The next reporting of fundraising totals will come in July.

5. The ADN and Alaska Dispatch

State of Reform tries to bridge the gap between the worlds of health care and health policy.  So, we watch the world of news and information closely to watch changes and trends in how information drives public opinion.

Which is why we think the purchase of the ADN by the Alaska Dispatch is so interesting and full of potential.  If the team at the ADN brings the same level of engagement it’s had at the Dispatch, perhaps even more energy can be directed to the topic of healthcare.  If so, the organization could become a catalyst to a conversation that is difficult to have in Alaska, namely how are we going to fix this system?