Sen. Shelley Hughes on the decision to go outside for medical care

On August 29th, Sen. Shelley Hughes posted on her public Facebook page her rationale for leaving Alaska to travel to Spokane to receive treatment for her recently diagnosed breast cancer.

It’s an important act of courage to share her story publicly, particularly given her role as a Senator and a former health care advocate.  Here are important quotes from her piece, with the full video embedded below.

Our health care costs here in Alaska are really high, and with what I am facing I’m realizing it.  That is why I am flying out.  I was hoping to perhaps use some of the care here, the team approach at Providence, and yet it’s not in network with our insurance. But down south it is. So, I’m going to be flying out in the morning to Spokane to begin a series of treatments…

There are different things we can be doing here in Alaska, and I think it’s time to do it.

When surgeries are costing three to four times more up here than down there, it puts many Alaskans in a position that maybe they can’t get something done without going outside.

Just like I work to take care of your wallet, I have to protect mine in this case.  It would be tens of thousands of dollars if I went out of network provider and system up here.