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Assembly candidate Q&A: How can the city slow health insurance costs?

Anchorage residents will vote on candidates for six open seats on the 11-member Anchorage Assembly at the municipal election on April 1. To give readers a better sense of who they'd be voting for, the Daily News asked each of the 13 hopefuls a series of questions on their backgrounds and on key issues facing the city. In the days leading up to the campaign, we're printing answers to selected questions in the newspaper, while full responses are posted at adn.com/assemblysurvey.

MEDICAL COSTS FOR CITY WORKERS HAVE GROWN 7 PERCENT ANNUALLY IN RECENT YEARS, AND HEALTH INSURANCE IS CURRENTLY A $50 MILLION LINE ITEM IN THE CITY'S $470 MILLION BUDGET. HOW CAN THE CITY SLOW THAT RATE OF GROWTH?

 

East Anchorage

• Adam Trombley: The Administration and Assembly have already started to reverse that trend by standardizing heathcare plans and reducing the healthcare plan increases to the CPI-Medical.

• Mao Tosi: We can look at other health insurance options to see if there's better coverage available but also encourage healthier opportunities within the workplace.

• Pete Petersen: We need to work cooperatively with the employees to identify where we can save on administrative expenses.

South Anchorage

• Pete Nolan: Private enterprise asks employees to share more of the burden of their insurance costs and raise prices to balance their books. Government simply bills taxpayers.

• Bill Evans: The burden of cost increases must be borne more equitably between the taxpayer and municipal employee. Consolidating plans across bargaining units may provide some savings.

• Bruce Dougherty: Healthcare costs are on the rise across the country. In the long term encouraging and supporting city employees in taking preventative care options and living healthier lifestyles is essential and is the best way to reduce costs in the long run

West Anchorage

• Phil Isley: It is odd that people that make a life in public service demand better retirement and health care then the people they work to serve. How come social security and affordable health care are good enough for us, but not good enough for our public servants? It is hard to make a case for better health insurance when many residents, like me, have none.

• Tim Steele: We may need to consider larger health care pools to gain greater leverage in negotiating rates.

Eagle River-Chugiak

• Bill Starr: Reduce offerings within the health plans and shift increases and health care decisions to employees.

• Sharon GIBBONS: As long as our population and economy continues to grow, the medical cost will continue to grow. Prevention can potentially keep cost from growing exponentially. Municipal workers contribute a percentage of their pay for their insurance. There are benefits for both sides to keep cost low.

Midtown

• Elvi Gray-Jackson: Medical costs have grown due to increase in hospital costs, provider prices, and the cost of medical technology. The City should diligently encourage healthy lifestyles.

Downtown- Mountain View

• Patrick Flynn: Consolidate health plans for employee groups to achieve greater economies of scale.

• Mark Martinson: We need healthier workers.Assembly candidates on the issues

 



Anchorage