Health care issue goes beyond same-sex benefits

Posted: Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I’m writing in reference to the article submitted by Paul Morrison in Monday’s (Jan. 30) Clarion. Although I agree our societies’ morals have degraded to unprecedented levels, I believe this is not truly the issue.

Whether homosexual or heterosexual, the problem is the lack of affordable healthcare availability for all Alaskans. We have people who are gainfully employed and who have healthcare, and of course we have Medicaid and Medicare, and those who can afford private healthcare insurance.

I contacted some of our state legislative personnel to see what was on the agenda in terms of availability for Alaska healthcare. They explained the Federal Government previously mandated that all states have a healthcare program. In Alaska, the program is being administered by the Department of Health and Social Services. They decided that only children and the low income people can get healthcare. If you have X amount of assets, or X amount of income, you can’t get health insurance through the state administered program.

On the other hand, if you have a job that doesn’t pay enough or doesn’t provide insurance, it is impossible to purchase your own insurance at the rates the industry has mandated. It’s a Catch-22 for many Alaskans.

In Washington, for instance, they have the Washington Basic Health Plan. In this plan, everyone can get health insurance and the premium is based on your income. This is beneficial to anyone who doesn’t have private insurance through their employer(s) or through self employment.

Personally I don’t believe homosexual couples should have employer-based benefits. In this regard, heterosexual people are discriminated against because they can’t get the same privilege unless they are married. But this doesn’t solve the continued healthcare disaster that continues in our country, but more importantly in our state.

Debra Hansen

North Kenai

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