Alaska looks to get a handle on health care costs


JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — State officials are looking at ways to lower the growth of Alaska's health care costs.

Health Commissioner Bill Streur told the House Finance Committee on Monday that the state's health care costs hit $2 billion in 2011. That includes money spent on Medicaid and as part of active employee and retirement programs.

Streur says health care costs grew an average of 9 percent a year between fiscal years 2001 and 2010. More recently, he says the average cost per Medicaid recipient has stabilized but he says he considers that more a respite than any real trend.

Streur appeared before the panel with Administration Commissioner Becky Hultberg, who discussed some of the options that are being looked at, or implemented, to better manage costs.

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