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Mark Begich on Health Care

Democratic Jr Senator


AdWatch: Begich supports ObamaCare for Alaskans

Last month, an anti-Begich TV ad from Americans for Prosperity, a group linked to the Koch brothers, conservative billionaires. Now a pro-Begich super PAC has responded.

The anti-Begich ad featured an unnamed woman with long reddish hair in a kitchen, tying Begich to the Affordable Care Act. "Sen. Begich didn't listen. How can I ever trust him again? It just isn't fair," the woman said.

The new TV spot also features a woman with long reddish hair, also in a kitchen, but her name appears on screen. She's Megan Collie, of Anchorage. "That ad, attacking Sen. Begich? It turns out she's an actress, from Washington, DC, pretending to be from Alaska. I'm not an actress. I live here and I trust Mark Begich. He's trying to fix the healthcare law," she said in the new TV spot.

The message is the first public appearance of a Super PAC called Put Alaska First, which spent nearly $100,000 on it. While his ad emphasizes its Alaska bona fides, the group acknowledges he's paying for it with out-of-state money.

Source: KTOO AdWatch on 2014 Alaska Senate race , Dec 12, 2013

AdWatch: Targeted by RNC robocalls for support of ObamaCare

Sen. Mark Begich is among 11 Democrats targeted by the Republican National Committee for their support of ObamaCare. The RNC is using robocalls and posting on Facebook to urge people to call their representatives and ask "why they supported President Obama's lie that people could keep their healthcare plans under ObamaCare."

The targets besides Begich are Reps. Gary Peters (MI) and Bruce Braley (IA), Sens. Mark Warner (VA), Dick Durbin (IL), Kay Hagan (NC), Mary Landrieu (LA), Jeff Merkley (OR), Mark Pryor (AR), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), and Mark Udall (CO). The robocall script reads:

"President Obama and the Democrats said you could keep your healthcare plan under ObamaCare. Now we know [SENATOR] actually VOTED to make it more difficult. Call [SENATOR] at (XXX)-XXX-XXX & ask why [he/she] lied."

The robocalls are a response to Democrats launching the "GOP Shutdown Watch" campaign, highlighting Republican senate candidates who supported the partial federal government shutdown.

Source: MI Daily Tribune AdWatch: 2014 Alaska Senate debate , Nov 5, 2013

Protect future Medicare with “medical home” model

Q: Do you support Means Testing, where higher income seniors will have to pay more for their doctors’ services?

A: The recent showdown between Congress and the Bush Administration over Medicare payments to doctors revealed archaic programmatic formulas and outdated approaches that don’t make sense. Instead of relying on frequent band-aid bailouts, Mark will support innovative efforts to protect Medicare for future generations through such concepts as the “medical home” model, in which doctors and patients spend more time together. By paying doctors more up front per Medicare patient, the program can save money over the long term because doctors will be less likely to turn patients away (leaving the expensive emergency room as the only option) or to simply refer patients to pricey specialists.

Source: Senior Citizens League Guide to the 2008 US Senate Campaigns , Oct 10, 2008

Privatization undermines the integrity of Medicare

Mark Begich believes the privatization attempts authorized in MMA could seriously undermine the integrity of the Medicare program. They also will significantly hurt older Americans living in rural areas that have limited access to doctors that would be w Q
Source: Senior Citizens League Guide to the 2008 US Senate Campaigns , Oct 10, 2008

Increase Medicare reimbursements and affordable health care

Alaska needs a senator who will address the unique health care needs of Alaskans--the higher costs, doctor shortages and distances required to travel for proper medical care. He will work to reduce health care costs for Alaskans by increasing Medicare reimbursements and work for guaranteed affordable health care for all.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.begich.com, “Issues” , May 21, 2008

Favors expanding Alaska’s Denali KidCare program

As mayor, Mark oversees the health care program for 3,000 Anchorage city employees. Shortly after taking office, he directed a take-over of the municipal health insurance program, savings taxpayers money and reducing the growth in costs. With about 20% o Alaskans living on the edge with no health insurance, he believes America’s health care system needs a major overhaul. He favors expanding Alaska’s Denali KidCare program which provides health care to 25,000 children and low income pregnant women.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.begich.com, “Issues” , May 21, 2008

Voted NO on the Ryan Budget: Medicare choice, tax & spending cuts.

Proponent's Arguments for voting Yes:

[Sen. DeMint, R-SC]: The Democrats have Medicare on a course of bankruptcy. Republicans are trying to save Medicare & make sure there are options for seniors in the future. Medicare will not be there 5 or 10 years from now. Doctors will not see Medicare patients at the rate [Congress will] pay.

[Sen. Ayotte, R-NH]: We have 3 choices when it comes to addressing rising health care costs in Medicare. We can do nothing & watch the program go bankrupt in 2024. We can go forward with the President's proposal to ration care through an unelected board of 15 bureaucrats. Or we can show real leadership & strengthen the program to make it solvent for current beneficiaries, and allow future beneficiaries to make choices.

Opponent's Arguments for voting No:

[Sen. Conrad, D-ND]: In the House Republican budget plan, the first thing they do is cut $4 trillion in revenue over the next 10 years. For the wealthiest among us, they give them an additional $1 trillion in tax reductions. To offset these massive new tax cuts, they have decided to shred the social safety net. They have decided to shred Medicare. They have decided to shred program after program so they can give more tax cuts to those who are the wealthiest among us.

[Sen. Merkley, D-TK]: The Republicans chose to end Medicare as we know it. The Republican plan reopens the doughnut hole. That is the hole into which seniors fall when, after they have some assistance with the first drugs they need, they get no assistance until they reach a catastrophic level. It is in that hole that seniors have had their finances devastated. We fixed it. Republicans want to unfix it and throw seniors back into the abyss. Then, instead of guaranteeing Medicare coverage for a fixed set of benefits for every senior--as Medicare does now--the Republican plan gives seniors a coupon and says: Good luck. Go buy your insurance. If the insurance goes up, too bad.
Status: Failed 40-57

Reference: Ryan Budget Plan; Bill HCR34&SCR21 ; vote number 11-SV077 on May 25, 2011

Voted YES on regulating tobacco as a drug.

Congressional Summary:Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to provide for the regulation of tobacco products by the Secretary of Health and Human Services through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Defines a tobacco product as any product made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption. Excludes from FDA authority the tobacco leaf and tobacco farms.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. HEATH SHULER (D, NC-11): Putting a dangerous, overworked FDA in charge of tobacco is a threat to public safety. Last year, the FDA commissioner testified that he had serious concerns that this bill could undermine the public health role of the FDA. And the FDA Science Board said the FDA's inability to keep up with scientific advancements means that Americans' lives will be at risk.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes: Rep. HENRY WAXMAN (D, CA-30): The bill before us, the Waxman-Platts bill, has been carefully crafted over more than a decade, in close consultation with the public health community. It's been endorsed by over 1,000 different public health, scientific, medical, faith, and community organizations.

Sen. HARRY REID (D, NV): Yesterday, 3,500 children who had never smoked before tried their first cigarette. For some, it will also be their last cigarette but certainly not all. If you think 3,500 is a scary number, how about 3.5 million. That is a pretty scary number. That is how many American high school kids smoke--3.5 million. Nearly all of them aren't old enough to buy cigarettes. It means we have as many boys and girls smoking as are participating in athletics in high schools. We have as many as are playing football, basketball, track and field, and baseball combined.

Reference: Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act; Bill HR1256&S982 ; vote number 2009-S207 on Jun 11, 2009

Voted YES on expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Congressional Summary:

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:

Rep. FRANK PALLONE (D, NJ-6): In the last Congress, we passed legislation that enjoyed bipartisan support as well as the support of the American people. Unfortunately, it did not enjoy the support of the President, who vetoed our bill twice, and went on to proclaim that uninsured children can simply go to the emergency room to have their medical needs met. As the Nation moves deeper into a recession and unemployment rates continue to rise, millions of Americans are joining the ranks of the uninsured, many of whom are children. We can't delay. We must enact this legislation now.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. ROY BLUNT (R, MI-7): This bill doesn't require the States to meet any kind of threshold standard that would ensure that States were doing everything they could to find kids who needed insurance before they begin to spend money to find kids who may not have the same need. Under the bill several thousands of American families would be poor enough to qualify for SCHIP and have the government pay for their health care, but they'd be rich enough to still be required to pay the alternative minimum tax. The bill changes welfare participation laws by eliminating the 5-year waiting period for legal immigrants to lawfully reside in the country before they can participate in this program. In the final bill, we assume that 65% of the children receiving the benefit wouldn't get the benefit anymore. It seems to me this bill needs more work, would have benefited from a committee hearing. It doesn't prioritize poor kids to ensure that they get health care first.

Reference: SCHIP Reauthorization Act; Bill H.R.2 ; vote number 2009-S031 on Jan 29, 2009

Merge Alzheimers diagnosis and care benefit.

Begich co-sponsored HOPE for Alzheimer's Act

Congressional Summary:The purpose of this Act is to increase diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, leading to better care and outcomes for Americans living with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Congress makes the following findings:

  1. As many as half of the estimated 5.2 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease have never received a diagnosis.
  2. An early and documented diagnosis and access to care planning services leads to better outcomes for individuals with Alzheimer's disease.
  3. Combining the existing Medicare benefits of a diagnostic evaluation and care planning into a single package of services would help ensure that individuals receive an appropriate diagnosis as well as critical information about the disease and available care options.

Proponent's argument for bill: (The Alzheimer's Association, alz.org). The "Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer's Act" (S.709/H.R. 1507) is one of the Alzheimer's Association's top federal priorities for the 113th Congress. The HOPE for Alzheimer's Act would improve diagnosis of Alzheimer's diseas

Source: S.709/H.R. 1507 13-S0709 on Apr 11, 2013

Expand the National Health Service Corps.

Begich signed Access for All America Act

    A bill to achieve access to comprehensive primary health care services for all Americans and to reform the organization of primary care delivery through an expansion of the Community Health Center and National Health Service Corps programs. Amends the Public Health Service Act to:
  1. increase and extend the authorization of appropriations for community health centers and for the National Health Service Corps scholarship and loan repayment program for FY2010-FY2015, and provide for increased funding for such programs in FY2016 and each subsequent fiscal year; and
  2. revise and expand provisions allowing a community health center to provide services at different locations, adjust its operating plan and budget, enter into arrangements with other centers to purchase supplies and services at reduced cost, and correct material failures in grant compliance.
Source: S.486&HR1296 2009-S486 on Mar 4, 2009

Other candidates on Health Care: Mark Begich on other issues:
AK Gubernatorial:
Sean Parnell
AK Senatorial:
Dan Sullivan
Joe Miller
Lisa Murkowski
Mead Treadwell

AK politicians
AK Archives

Retiring in 2014 election:
GA:Chambliss(R)
IA:Harkin(D)
MI:Levin(D)
MT:Baucus(D)
NE:Johanns(R)
SD:Johnson(D)
WV:Rockefeller(D)

Retired as of Jan. 2013:
AZ:Kyl(R)
CT:Lieberman(D)
HI:Akaka(D)
ME:Snowe(R)
ND:Conrad(D)
NE:Nelson(D)
NM:Bingaman(D)
TX:Hutchison(R)
VA:Webb(D)
WI:Kohl(D)
Senate Vacancies 2013:
HI:Inouye(D,Deceased)
HI:Schatz(D,Appointed)
MA:Kerry(D,Resigned)
MA:Cowan(D,Appointed)
MA:Markey(D,elected)
MA:Gomez(R,lost special election)
NJ:Lautenberg(D,Deceased)
NJ:Chiesa(R,Appointed)
NJ:Booker(D,running)
NJ:Lonegan(R,running)
SC:DeMint(R,Resigned)
SC:Scott(R,Appointed)

Senate races Nov. 2014:
AK:Begich(D) vs.Miller(R) vs.Treadwell(R) vs.Sullivan(R)
AL:Sessions(R) vs.Bright(D)
AR:Pryor(D) vs.Cotton(R)
CO:Udall(D) vs.Buck(R) vs.Hill(R) vs.Baumgardner(R) vs.Stephens(R)
DE:Coons(D) vs.O`Donnell(R)
GA:Gingrey(R) vs.Nunn(D) vs.Perdue(R) vs.Handel(R) vs.Broun(R) vs.Kingston(R)
HI:Schatz(D) vs.Hanabusa(D) vs.Cavasso(R)
IA:Braley(D) vs.Whitaker(R) vs.Ernst(R) vs.Clovis(R)
ID:Risch(R) vs.LaRocco(D)
IL:Durbin(D) vs.Truax(R) vs.Oberweis(R) vs.Hansen(L)
KS:Roberts(R) vs.Tiahrt(R)
KY:McConnell(R) vs.Bevin(R) vs.Grimes(D)
LA:Landrieu(D) vs.Cassidy(R) vs.Maness(R)
ME:Collins(R) vs.D`Amboise(R) vs.Bellows(D)
MI:Land(R) vs.Peters(D) vs.Wiedenhoeft(R)
MN:Franken(D) vs.Abeler(R)
MS:Cochran(R) vs.McDaniel(R) vs.Childers(D)
MT:Edmunds(R) vs.Daines(R) vs.Bohlinger(D) vs.Walsh(D)
NC:Hagan(D) vs.Tillis(R)
NE:Sasse(R) vs.Osborn(R) vs.Stenberg(R)
NH:Shaheen(D) vs.Martin(R) vs.Brown(R) vs.Smith(R) vs.Rubens(R) vs.Testerman(R)
NM:Udall(D) vs.Sanchez(R)
OK:Inhofe(R) vs.Silverstein(D)
OR:Merkley(D) vs.Conger(R)
RI:Reed(D) vs.Carcieri(R)
SC-2:Scott(R) vs.Wade(D)
SC-6:Graham(R) vs.Stamper(D) vs.Mace(R) vs.Bright(R)
SD:Rounds(R) vs.Weiland(D) vs.Pressler(I)
TN:Alexander(R) vs.Carr(R)
TX:Cornyn(R) vs.Stockman(R) vs.Roland(L)
VA:Warner(D) vs.McDonnell(R) vs.Radtke(R)
WV:Capito(R) vs.Raese(R) vs.Tennant(D) vs.McGeehan(R)
WY:Enzi(R) vs.Cheney(R)
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Page last updated: Dec 24, 2013