Efforts stall to reform medical “80th-percentile” rule

Efforts stall to reform medical “80th-percentile” rule

State regulation blamed for helping drive up health costs Efforts by state officials, physician groups and health insurers to come up with a compromise on changes to the “80th-percentile” rule on medical payments are still foundering. About 20 people from the different group met in mid-August to explore ideas, but physicians rejected several proposals put forward by state officials. State Sen. Cathy Giessel organized the meeting. We’re told state budget director Pat Pitney sat in. The rule is a state…

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Economic Report 12-2018

Economic Report 12-2018

In this Issue: Recession still a drag on Anchorage | Survey shows an uptick in consumer confidence Increased confidence, but there is still caution Anchorage housing starts, building permit values are down Permanent Fund gained 10.74 percent in FY 2018 Business Intelligence Fairbanks gets ready for military population influx Carnival finalizes white pass deal Transfer of Fairbanks’ derelict Polaris building completed Lack of housing crimps seasonal labor supply in Homer Nome to vote on hotel tax increase Ketchikan to Seattle: “Come…

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Economic Report 11-2018

Economic Report 11-2018

In this Issue: Business Intelligence Report: ANCSA regional corporation revenues dipped in 2016 Alaska inflation trails national average Costco to open new store in Fairbanks in November It’s official: REI to relocate in Anchorage’s midtown State auctions state lands, nets $2.42 million Anchorage may ban plastic bags, joining other Alaska cities Marijuana tax revenue tops $1 million third month in a row Tara Sweeney confirmed as assistant secretary for Indian affairs Petersburg agrees on new contract with employee unit Homer…

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Economic Report 10-2018

Economic Report 10-2018

In this Issue: Economy Recession lingers, but some industries stabilize State to contract for marketing, sales of state park merchandise FCC  probes Alaska telecom’s charges to rural hospitals Business Intelligence It is near-official: REI to move to Anchorage’s Sears midtown mall Despite recession, 2017 a good year for First National Pentagon backs off on burdensome rule on 8-a contracting Anchorage gets first private mixed-use housing proposal Buyer backs out on Juneau nugget mall deal Niche cruise company marketing early-season tourism…

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Fisheries

Fisheries

China squabble upsets fisheries The China trade fight is causing major uncertainties for Alaska seafood companies. Pink salmon and other Alaska fish caught and frozen in Alaska are exported to China for reprocessing into products with much of those exported again including to the U.S. There are concerns about how new tariffs applied by China will affect the cost of Alaska fish and shifts by buyers there to other sources of supply. A new worry is on how fish meal…

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Minerals

Minerals

Bans on mining activities stripped from salmon initiative; still a lot left Alaska’s supreme court ruled on the state’s challenge to Ballot Measure 1, the salmon initiative, stripping some sections but allowing the bulk of the measure to appear before voters in November elections. The justices took out sections effectively banning large mines – the initiative is mainly aimed at blocking Pebble – but what is left creates a lot of problems for construction affecting water bodies. Some of the…

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Petroleum

Petroleum

Oil is found all over western North Slope Dry holes for decades; new technology now enables discoveries ConocoPhillips’ new oil and gas discoveries on the North Slope have provided a big boost in confidence for many in Alaska. There have been worries about declining production and deficits in the state budget. The latest is the company’s announcement July 16 that confirmation drilling last winter has allowed it to increase the expected oil recovery at Willow, a discovery in the National…

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Energy

Energy

 Interior utility; still hard feelings There are still some hard feelings in Fairbanks about the Interior Gas Utility, a public utility organized to provide natural gas in the region, over the purchase of Fairbanks Natural Gas, or FNG, a small utility serving the core Fairbanks area. It was bought by the IGU from the Alaska Industrial Development Authority, the state’s development finance entity. Frank Abegg, an IGU board member, has resigned, in protest over what he feels is too high…

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Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence

Alaska home values tick up, despite recession: State labor economists credit a generally-stable population with keeping Alaska home prices level, with even small increases, in the state’s major cities. Residential values were up in Anchorage, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Matanuska-Susitna and Kenai boroughs between 2015 and 2017, despite the recession. Statewide, home values ticked up from $315,602 in 2015 to $323,462 in 2017. Two other factor involved include the state’s growing population of retired seniors and the fact that many…

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Timber

Timber

Agencies work on roadless rule State and U.S. Forest Service officials have started work on a change to the federal “roadless” rule for Tongass National Forest and Chugach National Forest. The process underway involves gathering information and public comment. What’s proposed is an “Alaska exception” to the rule so that the forest service would have more flexibility in allowing roads to be built for timber harvest. The 2001 roadless rule effectively put 50 million acres of national forest land off…

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