Murkowski, Begich in town to talk healthcare reform

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Both of Alaska's senators want to talk about healthcare with Alaskans about national plans to overhaul the system at a cost that could reach $1 trillion.
It's caused a lot of friction on Capitol Hill and Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski want to hear what their constituents have to say.
One idea President Barack Obama has proposed would require you to buy into either a private healthcare plan or one from the government.
Preliminary estimates of the plan start at $1 trillion, a figure many Republicans say is way too much.
But Begich says not so fast.
"I don't want to say that it's a trillion or not because there's a lot of opportunity in the future how we're going to pay for this healthcare," he said Friday at a celebration for the completion of a salmon rehabilitation project at Westchester Lagoon.
Begich is holding a town hall at the Loussac Library Saturday at 10:30 a.m. to talk to Alaskans about the future of healthcare and the ideas proposed in Washington.
"There's a lot of ideas," Begich said. "I wouldn't want to say there's a certain plan out there, but there's a lot of ideas out there, no solid plan at this point."
Murkowski held a similar forum Friday with doctors and other providers.
"If it's going to be a trillion-dollar cost I think the American public wants to know they're getting good, quality care, and I think the concern is that we're not convinced we're getting quality care with the proposal that is out there," she said.
Because despite what might sound good in Washington, D.C., Begich and Murkowski say they want to hear what Alaskans think.

By:  Jason Lamb