Governor Sarah Palin has introduced the Alaska Health Care Transparency Act which will provide more effective tools to help Alaskans access affordable health care, and to ensure the health care system is responsive to changing demographics and market conditions.

The Act includes some recommendations from the Health Care Strategies Planning Council and the Health and Social Services Certificate of Need Negotiated Rule Making Committee.

"I thank the members of these two committees," Governor Palin said. "They worked diligently to evaluate the broad spectrum of the health care system in our state. After reviewing their work, I am establishing the Alaska Health Care Commission to further health care planning from a statewide perspective, by building on the work they have done."

The bill would establish an Alaska health care information office to give consumers factual information on quality, cost and other important matters to help them make better-informed decisions about health care in the state. Recognizing that health care must be market-and business-driven, rather than restricted by government, Palin is proposing a repeal of the Certificate of Need program (CON).

CON is a regulatory process that requires certain health care providers to obtain state approval before offering certain new or expanded services.

Health and Social Services Commissioner Karleen Jackson concluded that the CON program does not benefit the citizens of Alaska, given the litigious environment surrounding it.

The reports from the two committees are available online at: http://www.hss.state.ak.us/commissioner/legislature/