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Series of columns explores Alaska’s extreme health care costs

  • Author: Charles Wohlforth
    | Opinion
  • Updated: September 8, 2017
  • Published October 17, 2016

Columnist Charles Wohlforth is taking on the cost of the Alaska health care industry in an occasional series of columns that began in August 2016. Here are past installments.

How health care costs are bleeding Alaska dry

Teasing apart the causes of Alaska's off-the-charts health care costs won't be easy, but we must solve the problem for our economic survival.

A doctor's quest to remain human inside an insane medical system

The medical economics that patients hate hurt private practice doctors, too.

Alaska's extreme health care costs destroy economic opportunity and warp lives

Self-employed individuals and small-business people are giving up or making huge compromises because they cannot afford health insurance.

Some Alaska medical specialists charge as much as 10 times more than doctors in Seattle. Because they can.

Monopolies in some specialties, and state regulations, allow astronomical health care costs in Alaska

Health care divides Alaska's haves and have-nots. And the haves are in charge.

The true impact of the health care cost crisis is not felt by those who could fix it.

Nonprofit Providence Alaska Medical Center is getting rich on the health-care crisis

Providence is not unique in doing well — Alaska hospitals generally make profits that are twice the national average.

How to transform Alaska's health care system into something we can afford

When combined with a team approach, evidence shows that managed care can save money and deliver good results.

50 lobbyists stand between Alaskans and health care reform

With Alaska legislators still trying to get up to speed on the issue, wealthy doctors and their lobbyists are likely to fend off reforms that could harm their bottom line.

Moms of opioid addicts touched Sullivan's heart, but will he use his vote to help them?

Medicaid expansion is key to addressing the opioid crisis. Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan could hold the swing vote to stop its repeal.

Health care changes would make Alaska's recession deeper

The Republican plan to replace Obamacare would worsen Alaska's recession and cripple our ability to build a post-oil economy.

Legislature hopes for a good idea to solve the health cost crisis. And not much else.

With no progress addressing Alaska's spiraling health care costs, a study due in June has become the best hope for something to try.

How a Vietnam vet got stuck in the hospital - and how friends got him out

Friends helped an elderly amputee get home when Alaska's mixed-up medical system couldn't let him go.

Insurance won't pay for surgery that could save Barbara Ross' life

An operation to address a hereditary condition is excluded by insurance, forcing sacrifice on an Anchorage family that can ill afford it.

Nothing is bigger for Alaska than this health care vote

The decision facing Congress in health care legislation will affect every Alaskan. It could make a troubled system much worse.

My doctor has a radical plan to keep her small medical practice alive

Alaskans' extreme medical spending isn't driven by personalized care from the providers we see the most. Here's the consequence of that for one doctor.

In our confusing medical system, this innovative approach helps patients get the right care

A team of seven helps resolve tough problems, reducing waste. But the results of those savings may go to improved health rather than lower cost.

Single-payer is a nice dream that distracts from realistic health care solutions

The barriers preventing a government-run health care system aren't only political, they are also economic and social.

Alaska needs its very own health care solution

Here's my response to readers who support a single-payer health care system and disagree with my opposition to pursuing it.