In Alaska, anxiety grows as debate over health care rages


JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Going without health insurance is a risk. Going without it in Alaska can be a gamble of a much higher order, because it’s a place unlike anywhere else in the United States, with its brutal cold, wide-open spaces and dangerous outdoor jobs.

And yet many people on the Last Frontier do not carry insurance. For them, the Affordable Care Act just isn’t working.

For reasons that have a lot to do with its sheer size, sparse population and harsh environment, Alaska has some of the highest health care costs in the nation and some of the most expensive insurance premiums.

Michael Hutton, for example, makes a living selling dog food used by dog sledders. He looked at the potential $700-a-month cost of coverage under Obamacare and decided he would rather take his chances and go without coverage.

At 45, he says he is doing OK without insurance. But he admits he worries what will happen as he gets older.

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