Voices

The debate over whether or not to accept Medicaid expansion and reform is in my rearview mirror.

Gov. Bill Walker announced he will do this under his last remaining option, the 45-day policy, used seven times since 1991 -- the last time was in 1998 (per Legislative Budget and Audit). His decision has been made; the train has left the station; it is happening...

Tara Jollie

On July 16, despite low projected oil prices , an ongoing budget crisis , and warnings across the country about cost issues associated with Medicaid expansion, Gov. Bill Walker announced his intent to unilaterally expand Medicaid in Alaska . The decision is fraught with risk....

Sen. John Coghill

Earlier this month, the five Arctic Ocean coastal states signed a much heralded moratorium on fishing in the high seas portion of the central Arctic Ocean , or more specifically, adopted “interim measures to prevent unregulated fishing.”

As the states themselves acknowledge, there is no commercial fishing there now and it is unlikely there will be any in the near future. However, they agreed to apply the precautionary principle, and ensured that if and when Arctic ecosystems evolve to reflect climate changes and commercial fisheries become viable, none will take place until a suitable regional fisheries management organization is in place...

Heather Exner-Pirot

This week, a reader asks a question getting to the heart of an issue that will eventually need resolution as Alaska's attempt to structure its legal cannabis industry goes forward.

Other states that have legalized pot have roads leading more or less from every pot store to every potential customer. But a great many Alaskans live off the road system. They rely on small planes for travel and on air cargo parcels for practically everything, from construction supplies to bulk grocery items, and even alcohol.

Courtney asks, “Is it reasonable to expect that if my community in the rural part of the state 'opts out' of commercial cannabis, I will be able to order it like I can alcohol? I live off the road system in Bethel and we have a no-limit local option on alcohol.”...

Scott Woodham
Changes long overdue on dipnetting boat regulations

In his July 22 letter to the editor, Marv Greene was right in his assessment of the dangers of dipnetting from a boat on the Kenai River. More and more Alaskans are dipnetting every year. My friends and I have been dipnetting the Kenai River since the inception of that personal-use fishery. We have seen the fishery evolve from merely chaotic to deadly dangerous. Allowing boats of all sizes and horsepower to dipnet the Kenai River is a bad idea and it is getting worse as the numbers increase. Large jet-powered boats have no business in this fishery. They cannot maneuver well at slow speed and are a menace to all smaller boats....

Alaska Dispatch News

"Lots of cotton, lots of fish!" That's the old Bristol Bay, residents say. We could scoff at these old sayings, thinking "What in the world is the relationship of Alaska wild cotton to the sockeye run?" There should be no kinship between these two, but I still felt a little unease upon departing the jet in King Salmon and seeing almost no cotton on the drive to Naknek...

John Schandelmeier

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law as an amendment to the Social Security Act. Most people who will become eligible for Medicare this year were in high school when this legislation was authorized. Today’s seniors were young adults busy with their lives and families.

In 1965, almost half of those 65 and older had no health insurance, living in fear that the high cost of health care could propel them, and their families, into poverty. Today only two percent of seniors have no access to health insurance. This has led to a five-year increase in life expectancy for those over 65...

Susan Johnson,John T. Hammarlund

The upcoming international conference headlined by President Barack Obama presents an unprecedented opportunity for Alaska.

It wouldn’t hurt our congressional delegation to be gracious hosts.

Actually, it would help a lot, especially at a time when Alaska leaders hope to change federal policy on everything from the King Cove road to the proposed troop reductions at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, not to mention the demands of dealing with climate change in the Arctic...

Dermot Cole
Wretched flower thieves

What kind of lowlife can enjoy stolen flowers? Oh, of course, the same lowlife who would steal them in the first place. Three flower baskets were stolen off my fence and I understand how Ms. Gentry feels (Letters, July 25). I guess I’m supposed to be grateful to the thief because he only took three baskets instead of all 13. — Kathryn Coleman Eagle River...

Alaska Dispatch News

In his Alaska Dispatch News commentary (“ Alaska must do a thorough, independent review of oil tax regime ,” July 25), former Alaska Attorney General John Havelock suggests petroleum industry profits are unreasonably high now that the state has huge revenue shortfalls. The state’s current tax regime greatly remunerates oil and gas companies, while Alaskans are being deprived of important public services...

Jan Konigsberg