Brokers see progress in health insurance websiteWednesday, December 4, 2013 7:00am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Officials working with Alaska's health insurance marketplace website say it continues to have issues but is making progress. The website HealthCare.gov began operating about two months ago and counselors and brokers had trouble signing people up. Private broker Enroll Alaska shut down for three weeks at the end of October after determining that the site had an incorrect subsidy calculator for Alaska. Enroll Alaska chief operating officer Tyann Boling tells the Anchorage Daily News that enrollment numbers are now coming up dramatically. Boling says that on a scale of one to 10, the website is about a seven. Boling says problems can arise on a case-by-case basis.
Scientist reprimanded over emails settles caseWednesday, December 4, 2013 6:45am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - An Alaska scientist whose observations of drowned polar bears helped galvanize the global warming movement has retired as part of a settlement with a federal agency. Charles Monnett was briefly suspended in 2011 during an investigation into a polar bear research contract he managed. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management found no evidence of scientific misconduct but reprimanded Monnett for improper release of government documents that an official said were later used against the agency in court. The documents included emails related to Arctic drilling for oil and gas. When Monnett returned to work, his prior research portfolio had been reassigned. He filed a complaint, seeking, among other things, a job transfer. Under the settlement, the 65-year-old Monnett will receive $100,000 but cannot seek Interior Department work for five years.
Parnell wants reduced spending in next budgetTuesday, December 3, 2013 8:15am
- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Gov. Sean Parnell says he'd like to see state spending well below current levels for the upcoming fiscal year. Parnell is expected to release his budget proposal next week. He says revenues are expected to be lower because of lower oil prices and declining production. The Legislature earlier this year passed an oil tax cut aimed at spurring more production. Critics said the cut could put the state treasury at risk but Parnell says the revenue coming in under the new tax will be comparable to that of the old system at current prices. He says he wants to address one of the biggest drivers of the budget: the nearly $12-billion unfunded pension liability. He also wants a capital budget focused on maintaining state infrastructure and finishing projects already started.