The Obamacare showdown begins



Armed with Outside money from unknown organizations, Anchorage-based Ship Creek Group is leading an effort today to try to get U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski  and Dan Sullivan to back down on their opposition to Obamacare.

With a Republican president set to take control of the West Wing, and with Republican majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, the signature legislation of President Barack Obama is heading into heavy seas.

It will change, but no one knows by how much.”Repeal and replace” is the mantra.

At 1:30 pm, an orchestrated press conference presenting itself as a grassroots cause springing forth from the masses — will hold a press event at The Boardroom, an office space in downtown Anchorage where the left-leaning political consultancy Ship Creek Group has its suites.

John-Henry Heckendorn is Ship Creek Group’s founder and owner, and Andre Horton is the event coordinator. Horton works for Lottseldt Strategies, which also owns Casey Reynolds’political blog MidnightSunAK. These entities have worked tirelessly to elect Democrats in Alaska.

The idea, Must Read Alaska has learned, is to especially hold Murkowski’s feet to the fire by telling stories of real Alaskans who have real health concerns that have been helped by their access to subsidized insurance.

What they won’t tell you during the press conference is that Obamacare is collapsing all around real Alaskans.

In fact, earlier this year, the Republican-led Alaska Legislature had to bail out Obamacare with a $55 million infusion of cash at the request of Gov. Bill Walker, an unaligned politician who sides with Democrats in most cases.

“What I’m getting — and I guarantee what the Alaska Legislature’s getting — is constituents pleading with them for help,” Sen. Dan Sullivan told Politico earlier this year. “There’s been no state in the union more negatively impacted by Obamacare than Alaska.”

That’s true, according to every analyst, and the stories that Sen. Murkowski’s staff hears every day are horrific: Real Alaskans with real health concerns are paying more for their health care coverage now than they pay for their mortgages.

And the choice that was promised by Barack Obama and the Democrats? That’s one of the biggest rackets of the century, critics say.

In May, Moda Health announced its long-anticipated withdrawal from the market next month, which leaves Alaskans with only one option for health insurance in the individual market.  Some 14,000 Alaskans will be forced to change insurers next year, and they are down to one company.

Monthly premiums of $3,000 per person is not unlikely in the near future, as Alaskans have seen increases of more than 30 percent per year each year in Alaska since the Affordable Care Act was implemented.

Sen. Murkowski is not impressed with Obamacare and has shared stories on the floor of the Senate about:

  • Alaskans paying more than $2,000 per month for the cheapest bronze plan available on the “marketplace.” For $24,000 a year, a bronze plan pays for only 60 percent of health care bills, with a $6,000 deductible.
  • In Anchorage, a couple with Moda had been paying $2,500 a month with a $10,000 deductible, an increase of $1,000 a month over their premiums for 2015. Now that they must switch to Premera for 2017 and will see yet another increase.
  • A woman in Anchorage has watched year after year as her rates increased from $500 a month to nearly $2,000 a month and fears for what the 2017 premium rates hold.
  • A married couple in Wasilla was paying $850 per month prior to Obamacare, but that plan was not acceptable under the new regulations, despite the President’s promise that “if you like your plan, you can keep it.” They had to find another insurer. Next year, they will be paying over $2,300 per month.  That means they will be paying over $17,000 more per year for the same coverage, a 268 percent increase in just one calendar year.
  • A family of three in Ketchikan will pay almost $2,000 per month next year, for one of the cheapest bronze plans available. This plan comes with a $10,500 deductible. So despite paying almost $24,000, nearly all medical bills will still be paid out-of-pocket by this family.

“I am hearing from more and more Alaskans that they feel it is cheaper to simply not buy insurance, pay the tax penalty, and hope no one in the family becomes sick. Hoping to not get sick is not a health plan,” Murkowski said. “And as more and more Alaskans drop out of the market, costs for those that remain go up, driving more to drop out, and the system overall tumbles into a death spiral.”

The picture for Obamacare in Alaska is grim. State officials have said that the last company standing — Moda — can’t raise its rates high enough to cover the bills.

Here’s what today’s Obamacare-support event promises:


Alaskans come together tomorrow to share stories about their experience with Obamacare and advocate for a clear plan that protects vulnerable citizens.


Alaskans are rallying together against the proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a plan to protect the provisions that Alaskans have come to depend on.

At 1:30 pm tomorrow, Thursday, December 8th, a multi-generational, multi-community group of Alaskans are holding a press event to share their stories about the impact of the ACA in their lives and express their concerns about the proposed repeal.

The event is hosted by the Boardroom, an Anchorage co-working space that houses more than fifty young professionals, free lancers, investors and local small business owners. The Boardroom is located on the second floor of the Key Bank Plaza building downtown, at 601 w 5th Ave, Anchorage. A conference call-in line will be sent around tomorrow. Contact Andre Horton with any problems calling in. 

Concerned citizens and advocates in Alaska are determined to defend the ACA’s key provisions which have expanded heath care coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions, allowed those under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ plan, eliminated lifetime and yearly coverage caps, and has covered millions of working families and children in states that have expanded Medicaid.

At tomorrow’s press conference, advocates will outline what’s at stake for Alaskan’s families if Congress repeals the ACA without a plan for replacement. For millions of Americans there is much uncertainty in a world without the Affordable Care Act, and there is even more uncertainty if the ACA is repealed without a plan to replace the law with something else.


  • 1:30 – Attendees arrive, distribute informational materials, open conference line
  • 1:35 – Open with welcome and introduction from Facilitator
  • 1:40 – 1st speaker: Rev. Matt Schulz, Pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Anchorage
  • 1:45 – 2nd speaker Nathan Ord, commercial fisherman, medical student – WWAMI Program, Juneau
  • 1:50 – 3rd speaker: Rep. Adam Wool, business owner, father of family with multiple preexisting conditions, Fairbanks
  • 1:55 – 4th speaker: Matt Findley, President of the Alaska Hemophilia Association
  • 2:00 – Brief transition to press questions (Facilitator)
  • 2:00-2:25 – Press questions
  • 2:25 – Wrap up and concluding remarks (Facilitator)
  • 2:30 – Opportunity for one-on-one questions and on camera interviews
  • 2:45 – Take Down