Forces gather in Alaska ahead of health care vote
The latest effort in Washington to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has been the center of a heated national debate all week. Now, all eyes are on Alaska, as the Senate prepares for a vote as soon as next week.
On Saturday, a group of Alaskans gathered outside the offices of senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan in downtown Anchorage -- urging the pair to oppose the latest proposal put forward by forward by senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy.
On Tuesday, Gov. Bill Walker joined nine others in opposing the measure. Those rallying downtown Saturday said it's time for Murkowski and Sullivan to follow suit.
"I think the senator's in town this weekend, and I hope she watches, you know, watches the news and sees all the support that folks have for opposing this," said Nick Moe, who attended the rally. "It would affect me personally with a lot of the pre-existing condition pieces, this would affect our state by removing care for thousands of Alaskans, and overall it would reduce the funding we receive from the federal government."
Debra Phelps-Jaso shared Moe's concern.
"In my mind, it would mean that we would not have adequate, accessible healthcare for many Americans, especially those with chronic conditions, Phelps-Jaso said. "That's what I'm worried about. I'm worried about the capping and pre-existing conditions."
Adding to the pressure -- Vice President Mike Pence appeared on local radio shows Thursday, urging Alaska's conservative audiences to contact Sullivan and Murkowski in support of the bill.
"We're going to be working hard through the whole weekend with your senators and with every member of the Senate who knows that we can do better than Obamacare and we'd be grateful for anyone's support," Pence told KFQD's Dave Stieren.
If senators don't pass the measure by the end of the month, Republicans will 60 votes to do so rather than a simple majority of 51.