Speed Reads


The new GOP health-care bill is heavy on benefits for Alaska — the home of a hesitant senator

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), who has spent weeks wobbling over the GOP health-care bill, appeared potentially won-over by Thursday's revised draft — which now gives hundreds of millions of federal dollars to her state, Bloomberg Politics reports. "It's no secret that health care needs to be reformed, but it needs to be done right," Murkowski said last month. "So know that I remain committed to ensuring that all Alaskans have access to affordable, quality health care and will vet this bill through that lens."

On Thursday, Murkowski told reporters she will need to read through the bill before making a decision. Three other Republicans have already confirmed they will not be voting in favor of the legislation.

Still, Murkowski's vote has the potential to be make-or-break, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can't afford to lose more than two members of his party and still pass the bill. Under the new draft of the health-care bill:

[Alaska] would get a larger share of money for health insurers meant to stabilize markets where people buy coverage. Under the formula, any state with insurance premiums 75 percent higher than the national average would qualify to get 1 percent of the $132 billion from a long-term insurance stability fund. Alaska appears to be the only state that qualifies, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. [Bloomberg Politics]

Another part of the bill would benefit Alaska in addition to other states "that didn't expand Medicaid under ObamaCare," Bloomberg Politics writes. "The bill changes the calculation for determining Medicaid payments to hospitals to assist with uncompensated care. It allots funds based on a state's uninsured population rather than Medicaid enrollment, as the original legislation did."

Read more about how the bill benefits Alaska at Bloomberg Politics and follow where Senate Republicans stand on the health-care bill at The Washington Post.