Donald Young

Donald Young


Young Concludes Successful Visit to Maine for Arctic Council’s Senior Officials Meeting


Washington, D.C.Alaska Congressman Don Young, co-chair of the Congressional Arctic Working Group, recently wrapped up a visit to Portland, ME for the Arctic Council’s Senior Officials Meeting (SAO). Young’s visit included various meetings, discussions and events focused on cooperation, coordination and interaction among Arctic nations and stakeholders.

As the only member of the Alaska congressional delegation in attendance, Congressman Young worked to educate others on the unique challenges and opportunities we face as an Arctic nation, including resource development, national security needs and the development of ports, polar icebreakers, and other infrastructure. In addition, Young focused on collaboration between Maine and Alaska, which share many commonalities, including active marine and fishery economies.

The gathering represented the third SAO meeting of the Arctic Council. Juneau, AK will host the next SAO meeting from March 7-9, 2017. The U.S Chairmanship of the Arctic Council will conclude following the May 2017 Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, AK.

Maine-Alaska Arctic Roundtable

Young participated in the Maine-Alaska Arctic Roundtable, a gathering of U.S Arctic leaders focused on the many opportunities to collaborate on investments and decision-making. Young emphasized the need for new maritime infrastructure and navigational aids as shipping increases through the “choke point” to the Arctic – the Bering Strait. The roundtable included various Alaska and Maine officials, business and community leaders, and researches to share their perspectives, priorities and best practices related to the Arctic.

Congressman Young speaking at the Maine-Alaska Arctic Roundtable (click here to watch).

Ocean Observing Systems Mini-Science Summit

Congressman Young welcomed members from the scientific community during the Ocean Observing Systems Mini-Science Summit, which included discussions on the coordination and increased efficiency of how the federal government conducts and funds ocean research, data collection, and critical infrastructure for identifying extreme weather events and national security threats. Young is a longtime leader and advocate for the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System (IOOS), of which Alaska is home to one of eleven regional associations.

Congressman Young speaking at the Ocean Observing Systems Mini-Science Summit (click here to watch).

Lobster Wholesaler Tour

In addition, Congressman Young joined Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) on a tour of a Portland-based lobster wholesaler – Ready Seafood – to gain in depth knowledge of our nation's diverse fishing industry. Young, a long-time leader on national fisheries policy and an original co-author of the 1976 Magnuson-Stevens Act, introduced and passed H.R. 1335 in the 114th Congress to update the laws governing commercial and recreation fishing in U.S. federal waters.

Congressman Young touring Ready Seafood, Portland- based lobster wholesaler (click here to watch). For B-roll of Congressman Young’s visit, click here.

Congressman Young began the week by attending the Maine Arctic Forum and Showcase, which included a presentation by Alaska Tara Sweeney, Chair of the Arctic Economic Council.

Congressman Young speaking to Senator Angus King (ME-I) at the Maine Arctic Forum and Showcase

Congressman Young speaking to Admiral Robert Papp, former Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic, on national security needs in the Arctic.


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Young Applauds Enactment of Legislation Extending Highly Rural Veterans Transportation Program


Washington, D.C.Alaska Congressman Don Young today applauded the bill signing of H.R. 5985, the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act, which extends numerous Veterans Administration (VA) programs, including the Highly Rural Veteran Transportation Grant (HRTG) program – originally set to expire at the end of Fiscal Year 2017.

Congressman Young introduced H.R. 5558, the VA Highly Rural Transportation Program Extension Act, earlier this year to raise awareness for the looming expiration of this program. Through numerous discussions with House Veterans Affairs Committee leadership, Congressman Young secured this one-year extension as part of H.R. 5985.

Upon House-passage of H.R. 5985, Congressman Young shared the following statement:

“I am committed to standing up for Alaska’s veterans—especially those who live in our many highly-rural areas. The Highly Rural Veteran Transportation program enables all of Alaska’s veterans to receive the care they earned, regardless of the area in which they live. I’m glad we were able to extend this critical program for an additional year, and I will continue to advocate on behalf of this program in the future. We must ensure our nation’s veterans receive the benefits they earned in service to this nation; this legislation takes important steps in that direction by increasing access, improving services and extending critical programs to assist veteran and their families.”

Set to expire at the end of FY 2017, the Highly Rural Transportation Program enables State Veterans Service Agencies and Veteran Service Organizations to provide no-cost transportation services to VA or VA-authorized healthcare facilities to veterans in counties with fewer than seven people per square mile.

Currently, 14 organizations in 11 states administer grants under the HRTG. Grantees are eligible to receive up to $50,000 per highly-rural area in order to “provide innovative transportation options to Veterans in highly rural areas.”

According to the Alaska Office of Veteran Affairs, 8,200 veterans are currently eligible for the program in areas that include Southwest Fairbanks, the Matanuska-Susitna region, Kodiak Island, the Kenai Peninsula, and Prince of Wales Island and Hyder. In just the three months between January and March, 2016, the HRTG program in Alaska provided 3,010 hours of transportation on 3,129 trips, totaling 113,237 miles (and 5,760 nautical miles), for 3,116 veterans.  Although FY 2016 HRTG grant funds have been exhausted in several Alaskan areas, Congressman Young remains committed to reauthorizing the program to provide future services to Alaskan veterans.


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Young on Short-Term Funding Bill: “Not a Perfect Approach, But We Were Able to Include a Tremendous Amount of Good for Alaska and the Nation”


Washington, D.C.Alaskan Congressman Don Young this evening voted in favor of a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) Appropriations Package, which funds the federal government through December 9,2016. In addition to providing the full Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations, the bill contains $1.1 billion in emergency funding to fight and prevent the spread of the Zika virus and $37 million to help fight the nation’s opioid epidemic.

“As I’ve said before, shutting down the government is both shortsighted and irresponsible. Ultimately, it hurts the American people – our military, our senior citizens, our small businesses and the working people of Alaska and the nation,” said Congressman Don Young. “Today’s short-term spending measure is certainly not a perfect approach, but we were able to include a tremendous amount of good for Alaska and the nation – vital funding to support our troops, major improvements and reforms for our veterans, and efforts to address the nation’s growing opioid epidemic. By prioritizing investments to support Defense infrastructure projects and improve the Department of Veteran Affairs, this bill will have a tremendous impact on Alaska – not only for our economy and our local communities but for the defense of our nation and the wellbeing of our veterans. Although there’s much work to be done when Congress returns – including a number of major reforms and policy provisions to roll back many of this Administration’s destructive rules and regulations – I’m pleased that Congress could put its differences aside to focus on the immediate needs of the nation.”

Today’s bill provides $7.9 billion to fund military family housing, Guard and Reserve facilities, and military bases in the U.S. and around the world, including numerous projects in Alaska requested by Congressman Don Young – totaling  $561 million dollars.

Clear Air Force Station:

  • $20 million for a Fire Station
  • $155 million for Phase 1 of the Long Range Discrimination Radar

Eielson Air Force Base:

  • $22 million to renovate the Field Training Detachment Facility for F-35s
  • $79.5 million to build a 16-bay Weather Shelter for the 1st squadron of F-35s
  • $83 million to build a 16-bay Weather Shelter for the 2nd squadron of F-35s
  • $11.3 million to build Earth Covered magazines for F-35s
  • $44.9 million to build a 4 bay hangar/Maintenance/Corrosion Control Facility for F-35s
  • $42.7 million to build a 4-bay F-35A Maintenance Hangar/Squadron Operations Center
  • $12.8 million to build a Missile Maintenance Facility for F-35s

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER):

  • $29.1 million to add to and alter the JBER Alert AWACS Hangar
  • $4.9 million for a Fuel Offload Facility

Fort Greely:

  • $9.56 million for a Missile Defense Switchgear Facility

Fort Wainwright:

  • $47 million for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Hangar

In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs will receive a total of $74.4 billion in discretionary funding for medical services which include critical funding for mental health, suicide prevention, traumatic brain injury, services for homeless veterans, and rural health initiatives. Congressman Young supported a number of items of Alaskan interest, including:

  • $250 million for Rural Health Initiative:  Continues the VA’s rural health initiative to provide access and quality care to veterans in rural areas, including home-based primary care, rural Community Based Outpatient Clinics, transportation of rural veterans, and home-based therapies.
  • $29.3 million for Indian Health Services Reimbursement: Used to reimburse Indian Health Service (IHS) for direct health care services provided to eligible American Indian and Alaska Native veterans in IHS facilities.
  • $7.9 billion for Mental Health Programs: Ensures the VA has the adequate funding for treating veterans with mental health issues. $164 million of this amount is specifically set aside for suicide prevention outreach.
  • $173 million for Suicide Prevention Programs: Funds programs designed to prevent the incredible tragedy of 20 veteran suicides per day.
  • VA Contracts with Tribal Health Care Centers: Allows the VA to enter into agreements with Federally Qualified Health Centers in the State of Alaska and with Indian tribes and tribal organizations which are party to the Alaska Native Health Compact with the Indian Health Service. These contracts are critical to ensuring veterans in rural Alaska can access quality healthcare and services.
  • Medical Marijuana Provision: Allows VA physicians and health-care providers to make recommendations regarding marijuana to their patients in states where medical marijuana is legal.


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House Passes Water Resource Development Bill


Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young and the U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.R. 5303, the Water Resource Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, bipartisan legislation to promote economic competitiveness and strengthen the nation’s water transportation and infrastructure needs – including harbors and ports in coastal states like Alaska.

H.R. 5303, which passed by a margin of 399 to 25, contains a number of Alaska and Arctic specific provisions championed by Congressman Young, including $26 million and $29 million in authorizations for harbor projects in Little Diomede and the City of Craig, respectively. In addition, the bill makes important reforms to the Army Corps of Engineers current system for evaluating small, remote and subsistence port and harbor projects, works to recognize the value of a potential Arctic Port,  and broadens non-federal sponsors of water infrastructure projects to include Alaska Native Corporations. Congressman Young described the bill in the simplest of terms:

WRDA is about new infrastructure and new jobs. It means opportunities for our residents, critical infrastructure for our coastal communities, and economic development for our state.”

In a call for bipartisanship and cooperation on the legislation that ultimately freed the Senate from gridlock on the year end funding package, Young took to the House floor to speak in favor of the bill – saying it would allow Congress to “finish this project for the people of America.”

Congressman Don Young speaking on the House floor in favor of H.R. 5303 (click here to watch).

“This bill is a good bill. I just ask all of you – you know, we’re getting close to the end of this session and a lame duck too. This isn’t perfect for everyone. It’s not perfect for me in some cases. But let’s get a piece of legislation done without nitpicking it and say, “well, I didn’t get what I wanted…,” said Congressman Young yesterday on the House floor. “This is a good piece of legislation. It’ll create a better system of our infrastructure – for water, harbor and ports and other drinking water too. It’s a legislative package that’s been put together with a lot of hard work with staff. As usual, we get into this battle – “Well, I don’t want it. It’s a Democrat bill, it’s a Republican bill.” We ought to think of this as a House bill; a bill that can do the job. It will come out of this House, it will go over to the Senate and we’ll have a Conference. We’ll have another chance to finish this project for the people of America. So I’m asking us not to get into a little bit of nitpicking and get a good piece of legislation such as this passed.”

The following reforms and provisions of Alaskan importance were supported by Congressman Young in the 2016 House WRDA:

  • LITTLE DIOMEDE, AK: The legislation authorizes the construction of a harbor in Little Diomede, AK: $26,015,000
  • CRAIG, AK: The legislation authorizes the construction of a harbor in Craig, AK: $29,062,000
  • CITY OF VALDEZ: The legislation includes a bill sponsored by Congressman Young, H.R. 5087, which removes a navigational servitude on waterfront land in Valdez that currently impedes economic development of the property.  The bill removes the Federal Government’s taint on title in order to allow investment prospects for lands that were created due to dredging disposal from the construction of the harbor.
  •  SMALL REMOTE AND SUBSISTENCE HARBORS:  The legislation makes reforms to the current system the Corps of Engineers uses to evaluate small, remote, and subsistence port and harbor projects, by recognizing the regional benefits for justification of the project.  Increasing capabilities at a hub community will dramatically lower the costs of goods throughout the region, in many circumstances.
  • EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES: Allows Alaska Native Corporations to develop water infrastructure projects as non-federal sponsors.
  • ARCTIC PORTS:  Congressman Young successfully included a two-part amendment to H.R. 5303 in Committee to help with a justification for an Arctic port: one change recognizes the value of a potential Arctic Port to the surrounding communities, and another to enables Corps to consider the national security benefits of an Arctic port.
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On 20th Anniversary of Arctic Council, Reps. Young and Larsen Call on U.S. to ‘Fulfill its Responsibilities as an Arctic Nation’


WASHINGTON, D.C.— Representatives Don Young and Rick Larsen (WA-02) this week introduced a House Resolution to mark the 20th anniversary of the Arctic Council and to express support for the Council’s work.  

The resolution cited the Arctic Council’s vital importance in promoting international cooperation on military, maritime, economic and scientific interests shared by Arctic nations.

“The United States’ current chairmanship of the Arctic Council offers an opportunity to promote and implement our policy objectives,” wrote the Chairs of the Congressional Arctic Working Group. “The House of Representatives supports the Arctic Council’s work and remains committed to ensuring that the United States fulfills its responsibilities as an Arctic nation and asserts leadership on issues affecting the Arctic.”

The Arctic Council – which is an intergovernmental body that promotes collaboration between the United States, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden – was established on September 19, 1996.

In 2014, Larsen and Young launched the bipartisan Congressional Arctic Working Group to help members of Congress better understand the opportunities and challenges for the U.S. as an Arctic nation and act as a resource for other Arctic countries to interact with Congress. The Working Group brings together people from across many stakeholder communities to advise Congress on Arctic policies and establishing a strong presence in the region.

Young and Larsen are two of the House’s leading voices focused on helping raise awareness about Arctic issues – including the need for the U.S. to strengthen its fleet of polar icebreakers. In recent years, Larsen and Young have called for a number of Government Accountability Office studies regarding the Arctic (found here and here).

For text of the resolution click HERE.


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Young’s Alaska Native Vietnam Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act Passes Committee


Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources approved H.R. 2387, the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act, introduced by Alaska Congressman Don Young – Chairman of the Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee. The bill, which passed by voice vote, provides equitable treatment of Alaska Native Vietnam Veterans under the Native Allotment Act of 1906, allowing veterans to be eligible for land benefits from the federal government.

While serving overseas in the Vietnam War, many Alaska Native Veterans were unable to apply for land allotments promised by the federal government before the process ended. In 1998, Congress opened an application period for these veterans, but unfortunately only those who served from 1969–1971 were allowed to apply. H.R. 2387 expands the military service dates to coincide with the entire conflict, which officially lasted from 1964-1975.

“It’s absolutely wrong to punish these Alaska Native veterans, who proudly served their country during time of conflict, by denying them their allotment,” said Congressman Young. “Congress must once and for all rectify this inequity and fulfill its promise to these Native veterans. This is not the first time I’ve introduced this legislation, but I certainly hope it will be the last. I look forward to the day that this matter is closed.”

 “This piece of legislation will bring justice and parity for Alaska Natives who honorably served our nation in the Vietnam War,” House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) said. “I am pleased to see this important bill advance. I thank Congressman Young for his effort in allowing our servicemen and women an equal opportunity to obtain what is rightfully theirs.”

Congressman Young’s bill also increases available land for selection by Alaska Native Veterans and reduces previous restrictions and occupancy requirements that prevented many veterans from receiving their allotment during the prior open season.

On June 10, 2015, Congressman Young chaired a legislative hearing on H.R. 2387, which included testimony from Nelson Angapak – Senior Vice President for the Alaska Federation of Natives and a veteran himself.

 “It is with urgency that we are asking Congress to pass this bill during the [114th] Congress so that there will be equitable treatment of our veterans who served during the whole Vietnam era,” Angapak said. “Again, it is with urgency. Our veterans are dying off. Some of our friends are no longer with us and some are dying, that is why we have the urgent request that you pass this bill."

Nelson Angapak testifying in favor of H.R. 2387, the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act on June 15, 2015 (click here to watch).

“These veterans deserve that land, that’s the whole intent of this bill...," said Congressman Young. “Why is the Department of Interior so intent in not allowing these veterans to have their land?  What’s the big hang up? If it stays in trust, mineral deposits stay in your ownership; this is their cultural land, why can’t you let them have their land?” 

Congressman Don Young Discussing the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act in June, 2015 (click here to watch).


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Young Introduces Legislation to Rename Section of Federal Law in Honor of Breanna “Bree” Moore


Washington, D.C.Alaska Congressman Don Young today introduced legislation to rename a section of federal education law in honor of Breanna “Bree” Moore, a young Alaskan woman murdered by her boyfriend in 2014. 

“Breanna Moore will be remembered in so many ways; for her love and passion for life, her kindness and generosity to all those that knew her, and her dedication to make this world a better place. Although I did not personally know Bree, her story and the tragic events that led to her death are a constant reminder that we must never stop working to end this nation’s epidemic of domestic violence and abuse,” said Congressman Don Young. “I am thankful to Bree’s parents, Butch and Cindy, for their tireless advocacy to save others from facing the heartbreak and loss their family felt on June 26, 2014. This legislation, introduced alongside Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, is just a small step in honoring the life of Breanna Moore.”

Congressman Young meeting with Breanna Moore’s parents, Butch and Cindy, in Anchorage.

In 2015, Congress passed the first major reform and reauthorization to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) since the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) became law in 2002. Section 4108 of that law allows schools to use Safe and Healthy Students program funding to “improve instructional practices for developing relationship-building skills, such as effective communication, and improve safety through the recognition and prevention of coercion, violence, or abuse, including teen and dating violence, stalking, domestic abuse, and sexual violence and harassment.” Congressman Young’s legislation would allow Section 4108 to be referred to as “Bree’s Law.”

The legislation would:

  • Allow clause (iv) of section 4108(5)(C) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to be cited as “Bree’s Law.”
  • Allow programs or activities carried out under this clause to be referred to as “Bree’s Law programs” or “Bree’s Law activities.”



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Young Files Letter with House Clerk Updating Financial Disclosure Statements


Washington, D.C. - Alaska Congressman Don Young today filed a letter with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives updating his previous years Financial Disclosure (FD) statements. The letter amends Congressman Young’s FD statements between 1992–2014 to correct a clerical error within his May 2016 amendment that misidentified the date in which he became a one-third owner in his family’s farm.

Further, the letter corrects an oversight regarding delayed lease payments Congressman Young received – totaling $4100 over three years (2001 to 2003) – from a three-year oil and gas lease sale upon his family’s farm.

* The House Natural Resources Committee – a committee in which Congressman Young sits – does not have any jurisdiction involving lease sales upon private lands.

Upon discovering these oversights, and those that preceded them, Congressman Young has taken every action to self-report these incidents to the House. Today’s letter fulfills Congressman Young’s obligations to amend his prior year filings.

Click here to view the letter submitted to the House Clerk.


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Young Recognized for Commitment to Small Business


Washington, D.C. – This week Alaska Congressman Don Young was presented the Guardian of Small Business Award by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) – the nation’s leading advocate for small businesses. The biennial recognition is given to Members of Congress for their commitment and outstanding support for America’s small business owners.

NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan presenting Congressman Young with the Guardian of Small Business Award

“Small businesses are the economic engine of our nation; they drive innovation, employ more than 70 percent of our nation’s workforce, and support communities and families across our great nation,” said Congressman Don Young. “I’m honored to once again receive this recognition, but more importantly proud to support efforts in Congress that strengthen our economies, protect American workers, and reduce regulatory burdens harming our small businesses.”

As the nation’s leading advocate for small business, the NFIB recognizes Members of Congress on a biennial basis for their record of supporting key legislation identified by American small business owners. In the 114th Congress, NFIB evaluated Members of the House on a range of issues, including efforts to repeal and improve the Affordable Care Act, to reduce the tax burden facing American families and small businesses, and pushing back against job-killing rules and regulations.

"Many elected officials claim that they are champions of small business, but our Guardian Award shows our members and other small business owners who is really fighting for them,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan.  “Based on his voting record, Rep. Young is one of the most reliable advocates for small business in Washington.”

Congressman Young, who received a 100 percent voting record by the NFIB, was evaluated on the following pieces of legislation in the 114th Congress:

  • Save American Workers Act of 2015 (H.R.30)
  • Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015 (H.R.185)
  • Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R.596)
  • Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2015 (H.R.527)
  • America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2015 (H.R.636)
  • Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015 (H.R.1105)
  • Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015 (H.R.1732)
  • Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2015 (H.R.758)
  • Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act
  • Small Business Healthcare Relief Act (H.R. 5447)


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Delegation Introduces Bill Returning Healthcare Options to Alaskans


WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski, and Congressman Don Young introduced the Ensuring Health Care Opportunities Act of 2016 which will help Alaskans struggling with the high cost of health insurance, and strive to attract more insurance companies to Alaska.

President Obama, and many of those who voted for the Affordable Care Act, promised that those who liked their healthcare coverage could keep it under Obamacare, and that the act would lower costs and increase competition. The President said that every plan would offer an “affordable, basic package.” Six years later, hundreds of thousands of Americans, particularly those in rural states like Alaska, have seen premiums and deductibles skyrocket, and choices decrease with an exodus of insurance companies. A recent Gallup poll reveals that 29% of Americans say they have been directly hurt by Obamacare, and 51% of Americans disapprove of the law.

When the Affordable Care Act became law, Alaskans had their choice of five insurers offering individual coverage on the federal exchange. Today, Alaska is one of as many as eight states down to one insurance company offering such policies. Further, one-in-four counties across the county are down to one insurance company offering individual plans.

Until full repeal is realized, Alaskans are desperate for solutions. The Ensuring Health Care Opportunities Act would allow Alaskans, along with residents of states and localities with only one insurance company offering plans on the exchange, the option to buy health insurance that doesn’t include certain Obamacare mandates that might not apply to them, like mental health services, addiction treatment and maternity care – services which every health care policy today is required to cover.

“The cost of health care coverage is crippling Alaska’s middle class,” Senator Sullivan said. “The stories I hear and the letters I receive from my constituents being forced to buy insurance they can’t afford, and insurance they can’t use because of high deductibles, are heartbreaking. The President and the law’s supporters are M.I.A. as announcement after announcement comes out detailing the abject failure of Obamacare, taking many Americans’ livelihoods with it. Something has to be done. Until we can repeal Obamacare, this bill will provide Alaskans what they have been asking for – a real choice in policies.”

“We have seen time and time again that the Affordable Care Act does not work for a low-population, high-risk state such as Alaska. This essential bill would once again give Alaskans a choice in their healthcare coverage, a choice that the Affordable Care Act had taken away,” said Senator Murkowski. “I am proud to join with Senator Sullivan and Congressman Young to bring relief and flexibility to Alaskans suffering from the failing ACA’s one-size-fits-all policies.”

“Long before the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, many predicted that this one-size-fits-all healthcare law simply wouldn’t work – especially in places like Alaska,” said Congressman Don Young. “With skyrocketing premiums and the loss of all but one healthcare provider, it’s clear that those predictions have come true. Alaskans need and demand relief from this overbearing government mandate, especially as our system faces near collapse. This bill takes serious efforts to confront the many healthcare challenges facing Alaskans by removing some of the most unreasonable requirements of this law, while also giving Alaskans the choice and flexibility they need and deserve.”


Background on the Ensuring Health Care Opportunities Act:

·         This bill would allow states that have at least one county (or equivalent municipality) with only one insurer on the health exchange market to be exempted from certain coverage mandates in the Affordable Care Act.

·         States are not required to file this exemption, and the authority is left up to the state insurance commissioner or equivalent official. 

·         Individuals will not be required to purchase insurance excluding these coverage mandates.

·         States will have 90 days to file this exemption after the law is enacted, or 90 days once a state discovers it will have at least one county with only one insurer.

·         The waiver is good for 5 years and can be recertified. 

·         No part of this law prevents health insurers from offering a health insurance plan with these mandates. The law simply allows for additional plans to be filed that offer more choice for the consumer as a one-size-fits-all approach has clearly not worked. 

·         The point of this bill is to give consumers more choice in their health insurance options while encouraging insurers to reenter states to offer more plans to meet consumer needs and demands.

·         This law will not impact the preexisting condition clause of the Affordable Care Act or the ability for parents to keep children on their insurance plans until the age of 26.  

Facts about the Affordable Care Act:

·         A new study by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation suggests there could be just one option for coverage in 31% of counties in 2017, and there might be only two in another 31%. That would give exchange customers in large swaths of the U.S. far less choice than they had this year, when 7% of counties had one insurer and 29% had two.

·         974 counties have only one insurer and make up part of 23 states.

·         According to the American Action Forum, premium increases associated with coverage of these mandates have ranged from 0.13 percent in Rhode Island to 33 percent in Maine, with most states expecting single-digit increases.

Media reports on the ACA’s impact on Alaskans:

“Prior to implementation of the ACA, a consumer could choose which services and coverage they were willing to pay for and at what price point. Now, the federal government chooses for them, and they are required to pay up, or pay a penalty.” – Susan Bell, former commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, writing in the Juneau Empire, September 10, 2014.

“‘You never want to be without competition that's not good for consumers,’ [Alaska Division of Insurance Director Lori] Wing-Heier said. ‘But in our case in particular it's troubling because [companies are] leaving because they're losing money. That makes it harder to attract new insurers to the market,’ Wing-Heier said.” – Alaska Dispatch News, July 7, 2016.

“A recent cost-of-living index highlighted what many Alaskans already know: Living up north is pricey, from groceries to housing to utilities. But only in one category -- health care -- did four of the state's cities top the nation. Juneau placed first, then Fairbanks and Kodiak, with Anchorage named fourth for most costly health care, followed by Everett, Wash., and Boston, according to a report released last week by the Council for Community and Economic Research. The organization of researches measured some 300 cities based on the average 2013 prices for visits with optometrists, dentists and physicians.” – Alaska Dispatch News, March 27, 2016.

“In health insurance prices, as in the weather, Alaska and the Sun Belt are extremes. This year Alaska is the most expensive health insurance market for people who do not get coverage through their employers, while Phoenix, Albuquerque, N.M., and Tucson, Ariz., are among the very cheapest.” – NPR, January 15, 2015.

“Alaska Division of Insurance Director Lori Wing-Heier responded that the market is at a point where it may become so costly that Alaskans may flee the marketplace, creating an even smaller pool, and larger rate increase. The individual market could ‘go into a death spiral,’ she told legislators.” – Alaska Dispatch News, May 17, 2016.

“Alaskans on the individual market have already seen huge increases in their health insurance rates over the past two years. Premera's rate increases averaged 37.2 percent in 2015 and 38.7 percent in 2016, while Moda's increases were 27.4 percent and 39 percent.” – Alaska Dispatch News, January 28, 2016.

“It might not be a surprise to learn that Alaskans are much more likely to be uninsured than most other Americans. They are also more likely to live in remote areas and more likely to be people of color than those in the continental United States. They’re precisely the sort of population that the Affordable Care Act was designed to serve by expanding coverage, expanding access to health care, and making health care cheaper. But instead of proving the usefulness of health reform, the new health infrastructure in the state is quietly failing.” “Health Care Falters on the Last Frontier.” – Atlantic Monthly, July 1, 2016.

Editorials from newspapers across the country:

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: “Just around the time that Barack Obama packs his bags and leaves the White House, the house of cards that is ObamaCare could come tumbling down.” (Editorial, “Obamacare's Future: Condition Critical,” Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 8/15/16)

NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER: “The entire Obamacare scheme was set up on faulty premises. You can’t force people to buy health insurance they don’t want, subsidize mediocre insurance plans people can’t afford, and still claim to hold down rising medical expenses.” (Editorial, “Another ACA Failure Bad Idea Keeps Getting Worse,” Union-Leader, 9/6/16)

DETROIT NEWS: “The Affordable Care Act — commonly called Obamacare — isn’t working as it was supposed to. Insurance premiums are set to skyrocket in 2017, following increases the past several years. … President Barack Obama’s signature health care law was built on a dream. But market realities still exist, and taxpayers and patients throughout the country will continue to pay the price for the president and Congress ignoring those realities.” (Editorial, “Obamacare Begs For Congressional Review,” The Detroit News, 8/18/16)



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Meeting with Sebastian Donoso, Special Advisor on Indigenous Affairs within the Government of Chile Read More


Meeting with Benjamin Tucker of the Yakima Nation Read More


Meeting with 33 Close-Up students from Chugiak High School, East High School, Stellar High School, South Anchorage High School and Yukon Koyukuk Scools Read More


Meeting with Jackie Johnson, Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians Read More


Meeting with John Katz of the Alaska Governor's Office Read More


House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing on "American Energy Initiative" with both Senators testifying Read More


Meeting with Haines Borough Mayor Jan Hill Read More


Meeting with Dalton Riser, Student Wasilla Read More


Meeting with Mallory Givens, UAA Student Read More


Meeting with Sheri Buretta, Ed Herndon and Trudi Komakhuk Read More

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Congressman Don Young: AFN 50th Annual Convention Address

2016-10-24 06:52:27

Congressman Young: Maine Lobster Wholesale Tour

2016-10-07 23:30:51

B-Roll: Rep. Young Touring Portland, ME based lobster wholesale

2016-10-07 23:03:09

Ocean Observing Systems Mini-Science Summit

2016-10-07 23:03:06

Maine-Alaska Arctic Roundtable

2016-10-07 23:03:03

Young Speaks on Bipartisan Effort to Strengthen Water Transportation and Infrastructure

2016-09-27 22:11:01

Congressman Young Push Long Sought Provisions and Reforms in Energy Conference Hearing

2016-09-08 21:31:15

Rep. Young: FY 17 Interior Amendments - FWS and NPS, Arctic Lease Sales, Placer Mining

2016-07-14 19:50:14

Rep. Young: FY 17 Interior Appropriations - Blocking ANWR 10-02 Wilderness Designation

2016-07-14 19:50:12

Rep. Young: FY17 Interior Appropriations - DOI Arctic Rule

2016-07-14 19:50:10

Rep. Don Young: H.R. 5558, VAHighly Rural Veteran Transportation Program Extension Act

2016-06-23 22:36:05

Congressman Don Young: Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016

2016-06-08 17:12:29

Congressman Young: Memorial Day Message

2016-05-27 23:05:34

Congressman Young Offering Amendment to WRDA 2016

2016-05-26 19:39:38

Congressman Don Young: USO Care Package Service Project

2016-05-17 21:53:47

Congressman Don Young: Anchorage Land Transfer Act

2016-05-16 21:06:33

Congressman Young: House Works to Combat Nation’s Growing Opioid Epidemic

2016-05-13 17:35:07

Congressman Young: Nurses Appreciation Week

2016-05-11 22:22:35

Congressman Young: May Newsletter

2016-05-11 21:19:54

AK Delegation Meeting with Alaska Close Up Students

2016-04-20 23:18:44

Contact Information

2314 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-5765
Fax 202-225-0425

Congressman Don Young was re-elected to the 113th Congress in 2012 to serve his 21st term as Alaska’s only Representative to the United States House of Representatives. First sworn in as a freshman to the 93rd Congress after winning a special election on March 6, 1973, Congressman Young is today the 1st ranking Republican member and the the 4th ranking overall member of the House of Representatives.

Congressman Young served as Chairman of the House Resources Committee from 1995 to 2001 and then as the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 2001-2007. In the 110th Congress, Representative Young returned to the helm of the Resources Committee to lead his fellow Republicans as the Ranking Member. In the 112th Congress, he was chosen to serve as the Chairman for the Subcommittee on Alaska Native and Indian Affairs.  Rep. Young currently serves as a senior Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and House Natural Resources Committee.

Congressman Young calls Fort Yukon, Alaska home; a remote village of approximately 700 people located 7 miles above the Arctic Circle in Alaska’s central interior region. Born on June 9, 1933 in Meridian, California, he earned his associate degree at Yuba Junior College in 1952, and his bachelor’s degree in teaching at Chico State College in 1958. Between earning these degrees, he served in the US Army’s 41st Tank Battalion from 1955 to 1957.

When he first moved to Alaska, Congressman Young made a living in construction and tried his hand at commercial fishing, trapping, and in the search for gold. In Fort Yukon he taught in a 25-student, 5th grade elementary class in the Bureau of Indian Affairs school. Constructed of logs, the school had a wood stove that kept his Alaska Native students warm in the sub-freezing, arctic winter. With the annual spring break-up of the river ice, he captained his own tug and barge operation to deliver products and supplies to villages along the Yukon River. Even today, he remains the only licensed mariner in Congress.

It was in Fort Yukon that Rep. Young met and married a young bookkeeper named Lu. Lu was always at the Congressman’s side and supported him throughout his public service career. Lu and Don were married for 46 years, they were blessed with and raised two daughters, Joni and Dawn, and 14 grandchildren. Mrs. Young passed away on August 2, 2009.

Congressman Young first entered public service in 1964 when he was elected Mayor of Fort Yukon. Two years later, Alaskan voters elected him to the State Legislature in Juneau where he served in the State House from 1966 to 1970, and later in the State Senate from 1970 to 1973. Just hours after being sworn in to United States House of Representatives in 1973, he found himself leading the historic battle for approval of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. Often citing this as the single most important achievement in his career, Congressman Young stated, “Next to statehood itself, the most historical legislation passed that affected every Alaskan then, now, and in the future, was the passage of the pipeline legislation.”

That same year, his colleagues honored him as the “Freshman Congressman of the Year.” He went on to gain a key appointment on the then Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee where he pushed through the 200-mile fishing limit critical to Alaska’s fishing industry. He fought against federal control of lands and resources to which Alaskans are rightfully entitled – a battle he continues today with the same vigor. In 1997, he passed by a 419-1 vote, the National Wildlife Improvement Act, which sets guidelines for the nation’s 500-plus wildlife refuges.

Congressman Young proudly serves as the “Congressman for All Alaska” and loves his role as the only Alaskan Representative in Congress. Renewed by the challenges and goals of the 111th Congress and his committee positions, Congressman Young will continue to champion legislation and funding for programs benefiting Alaska and the nation. His vision remains the same – to provide citizens with the opportunity for a better life not just for today, but also for tomorrow and the future.

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