Alaska Politics Blog

This is the place to talk about Alaska politics, state, local, national. Public life in the Last Frontier has rarely been more interesting -- a full slate of federal and state elections, the influence of former Gov. Sarah Palin, the usual hardball Alaska politics. Come here for news, tidbits and information, and join the discussion. We encourage lively debate, but please keep it civil and stay on point. Don't use profanity, make crude comments or attack other posters. Posts that violate the Terms of Use will be deleted. Repeat offenders will lose their ability to post comments.

New Senate organization announced - 11/7/2012 12:48 pm

Homer Revealed - 8/22/2012 2:08 pm

Seven-day countdown - 5/25/2012 8:37 pm

Anchorage city clerk resigns (UPDATED) - 5/23/2012 10:51 am

Gara to seek re-election - 5/2/2012 2:04 pm

For one lawmaker: Good news - 4/27/2012 12:20 pm

Anticipation in the Capitol - 4/26/2012 11:38 am

Election Commission finds 1/2 of precincts ran out of ballots; recommends no investigation - 4/25/2012 5:08 pm

UPDATED: Murkowski health care amendment fails

From Erika Bolstad in Washington D.C. --

The Senate voted 41-59 against Sen. Lisa Murkowski's amendment, only the second to be voted on as the Senate begins consideration of its version of a health care overhaul bill.

Murkowski's amendment would have banned the government from using guidelines from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force to deny coverage. It would have applied to private insurers and government insurance plans. The Republican-backed amendment aimed at guidelines the task force released last month calling for pushing back the age and frequency at which women get screened for breast cancer.

Note that the Department of Health and Human Services funds the task force, but it makes its decisions independently from the federal agency. Also, when it was developing its recommendations, cost was not a consideration, only scientific evidence. The task force is "prohibited from considering costs when they make guidelines," the New York Times reported last month.

The Senate on Thursday did vote 61-39 to pass a competing amendment sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. That amendment allows a woman's doctor to determine whether mammograms are medically necessary. If so, it would require insurers to cover the screenings.

Also, Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, split ways with his Republican counterpart, Murkowski. Begich voted against her amendment and for the Mikulski version.

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