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7/15/2017
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"It" is millions of extra federal dollars to drive down health care premiums in Alaska.

The Trump administration and congressional Republicans are enticing the votes of Alaska's delegates for a bill designed to change Obamacare.

The situation: Obamacare gave more Alaskans health care, particularly some in extremely difficult medical situations. Once it's given, it would be very unlikely for politicians to take it away. Imagine the voter outrage.

But Obamacare also resulted in an exit of health insurance companies from the individual market and ever-increasing premiums in Alaska.

From this point, it's a matter of stabilizing the situation and bringing down premium increases.

That's where these extra federal dollars come in. They would be included in a measure to replace Obamacare, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act being recommended by the Trump administration and congressional Republicans.

Maybe not all Republicans — yet. In the U.S. Senate, the Republicans need all of the votes they can garner. Every vote means do or die for the measure, and this gives Alaska's senators the leverage to do what they would do anyway: What's best for Alaska.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan have been advocating for extra funds for states such as Alaska where premiums are 75 percent higher than the national average. Their efforts resulted in this being included in the measure.

Health care reform is one of the Trump administration's top priorities, as it is of congressional Republicans. It's been proposed and revised. It will continue to be rewritten until the Republicans satisfy enough of their members' concerns to pass it. Whatever it looks like coming out of Congress, Trump will sign it.

Then, as with Obamacare, the insured will find out what it does.

But, in the meantime, Alaska has health care insurance influence. The bill needs its senators' votes.