- Associated Press - Monday, March 20, 2017

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The longest-serving Republican in the U.S. House said Monday that he isn’t convinced that a GOP bill pending in Congress takes the right approach to addressing health care problems, particularly for a high-cost, remote state such as Alaska.

During a teleconference with reporters, Rep. Don Young said there can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to health care, yet he said that’s what’s being pitched. He said no state would be affected more than Alaska.

Young said he is fighting to ensure Alaska gets equitable treatment and is working with the state’s Republican senators to address Alaska-specific concerns, including high cost of health care, high premiums and lack of competition.

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“We remain the highest-cost state for health care and therefore, at times, we require a different approach than the Lower 48,” he said. “Right now, I’m not convinced what we have is the best approach.”

He also expressed concern with how quickly the bill is moving. A vote could come as early as Thursday.

High health care costs, a relatively small market and a lack of competition have been ongoing concerns in Alaska, where just one company now offers individual health policies.

Lori Wing-Heier, director of the state’s Division of Insurance, told The Associated Press in a recent interview that the bill, as proposed, would “kill” Alaska’s individual market, making it unaffordable for low- to moderate-income Alaskans.

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Sunday said revisions to the bill were being discussed, and Young described the situation as fluid.

Young said he’s committed to repealing former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, sometimes called Obamacare, and suggested a repeal of the law that would take effect in 2020, providing time for Congress to work on a replacement.

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