Sen. Murkowski will talk health in Fairbanks

FAIRBANKS — Sen. Lisa Murkowski is planning three town hall-style meetings in Alaska this month to discuss health care issues, starting with an Aug. 13 discussion in Fairbanks.
Murkowski held a “teletownhall” on Thursday, connecting with 8,000 Alaskans who were dialed by an automated system, said spokesman Michael Brumas. The hour-long discussion was dominated by health-care issues.
Brumas said the theme has been so consistent that Murkowski wants to host the town-hall meetings to discuss the issue exclusively.
“When she’s been home the last few weeks, everyone wants to talk to her about health care,” he said.
A member of the Senate Health Committee, Murkowski voted against the Democrats’ health care reform bill that passed the committee in July. In a press release, she criticized the bill for its $1 trillion price tag and leaving too many citizens without coverage. Leaders in the Senate Finance Committee have been negotiating a pared-down version of that bill.
Brumas said Murkowski will support a good bill, but said more bipartisan work needs to be done to craft acceptable legislation.
“She would like to see something pass,” Brumas said. “She thinks health care reform needs to be done.”
Brumas said the town-hall meetings are designed to collect constituents’ health care experiences and discuss how they’d like to see the system reformed.
The specific location of the Fairbanks meeting hasn’t been finalized, Brumas said. Murkowski also will host meetings in Anchorage (Aug. 20), Wasilla (Aug. 28) and Soldotna (Aug. 29).
Additional information about the meetings will be available at murkowski.senate.gov under the “upcoming events” tab.

By:  Originally published in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on August 03, 2009