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New Alaska political groups could support initiative campaigns on Medicaid, insurance

Two newly registered political groups could support a pair of initiative campaigns aimed at Alaska's insurance industry and Medicaid health care program, but the consultant involved with the groups is revealing few details.

"Defend Alaska's Care" and "Healthcare for Alaska" were registered with state campaign finance regulators Thursday morning by Paula DeLaiarro, who works at political consulting firm Ship Creek Group.

DeLaiarro wrote in Defend Alaska's Care's registration that it will "promote the successful passage of a health care initiative regarding Medicaid," while Healthcare for Alaska will "promote the successful passage of a health care initiative regarding insurance reforms."

DeLaiarro referred questions to Jim Lottsfeldt, another political consultant, who declined to be interviewed. He said in a text message that the groups have not yet filed initiative applications with the state, adding that there's "no guarantee they will be."

The groups' registrations are "to be ready if it happens," Lottsfeldt said.

Lottsfeldt is a political consultant and lobbyist whose clients include insurer Moda Health and the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska Foundation.

The ACLU has been a vocal opponent to the health care legislation that President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers are trying to push through Congress. And Lottsfeldt also works with Protect Our Care, a coalition of individuals, businesses and organizations that have opposed the legislation, which would make deep cuts to Medicaid, the government health care program for the poor and disabled.

Other people named on the group's registration forms are Alan Gross, an orthopedic surgeon who lives in Petersburg and has advocated for a single-payer health care system, and Mark Simon, who's also worked at Ship Creek Group.

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