by Rebecca Palsha
Friday, March 26, 2010
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- It's a vote some say could cost Democrats House and Senate seats in Washington, D.C. With the rhetoric on both sides shaping public opinion, how could the health care debate affect the upcoming elections?
Sen. Mark Begich, a yes vote in December on the health care reform bill passed by the U.S. House this week, spoke to reporters after flying back from the nation's capital Friday.
"I wouldn't vote for something that would destroy the country," Begich said. "So I have a view, and I think it's not a perfect bill. There's going to be work for a decade-plus to come in regards to this legislation, but I think it's a step in the right direction."
Begich also explained what the bill means for Alaskans, and for the Alaska Native community.
Alaska is home to nearly 230 federally recognized tribes, the highest of any state in the nation. Begich says the new bill calls for reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which would bring new health care programs to the state -- as well as tens of millions of dollars for Indian health services.