I, Tony Knowles, Governor of the State of Alaska, make the following findings:
1. Alaskans, especially low and moderate-income senior citizens, are having increasing difficulties paying for the costs of the prescription drugs that are necessary for their health care;
2. whether elderly citizens can continue to afford the prescriptions they need has become a nationwide concern;
3. over the last three decades, not fewer than 26 states have put in place a prescription drug assistance program of some type and, in some cases, of more than one type;
4. these programs have included subsidy programs, discount programs, rebates, bulk purchasing arrangements, and tax credits;
5. one or more of these strategies were under consideration in 44 states as of June 2001;
6. if Alaska adopts one of these strategies for helping its senior citizens cope with the costs of their prescription drugs, the strategy must be adapted for use in this state;
7. the strategy used in this state should also anticipate which efforts are most likely to benefit from future contemplated changes in the Medicaid or Medicare programs; and
8. a task force established to focus on the prescription drug cost issue would put the state in a better position to formulate policies on this subject.
I, Tony Knowles, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the authority vested in me by art. III, secs. 1 and 24, of the Alaska Constitution, and in recognition of the findings concerning the increased difficulty Alaskans, especially low and moderate-income seniors, are having in affording necessary prescription drugs, establish the Governor’s Advisory Task Force on Prescription Drug Assistance (Advisory Task Force).
The purpose of the Advisory Task Force is to provide recommendations to the Governor on public policy and cost estimates related to development of a state assistance program making prescription drugs more affordable. These recommendations are for the Governor’s use in developing a proposal to be submitted to and acted upon by the Alaska Legislature.
In formulating its recommendations, the Advisory Task Force shall:
1. study prescription drug assistance strategies that have been used or are being considered in other states and at the federal level;
2. ascertain the potential applicability of Medicaid regulations and waivers to the needs of elderly low to moderate-income Alaskans and other Medicaid-eligible Alaskans for assistance with the costs of the prescription drugs;
3. gather demographic information on the senior population in the state and its likely size and makeup over the next 10 years;
4. develop reliable estimates for how much this state’s senior citizens have been spending and will probably spend each year on prescription drugs, and their rates of drug usage, over the past five years and for the next five years;
5. hold public hearings and use other means to solicit as much helpful information as possible on this subject from the citizens of the state, including patients, doctors, hospitals, insurance providers, representatives of pharmaceutical companies, and other Alaskans; and
6. develop recommendations for regulations, waiver applications, and legislation that this state should pursue in assisting Alaskans with the costs of their prescription drugs, and project a cost to the state for each recommendation.
No later than October 1, 2002, the Advisory Task Force shall prepare and submit to the Governor a report of its findings and recommendations.
The Advisory Task Force will consist of the following members appointed by the Governor:
1. the Commissioner of the Department of Administration, or designee
2. the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services, or designee
3. the Commissioner of the Department of Community and Economic Development, or designee
4. a licensed pharmacist,
5. a representative of the insurance industry, and
6. two Alaska residents over the age of 50
The Department of Administration shall provide necessary administrative support to the Advisory Task Force.
The Advisory Task Force shall elect a member to serve as chair. Advisory Task Force members do not receive compensation as members of the Advisory Task Force. Members of the Advisory Task Force who are not state employees are entitled to per diem and travel expenses in the same manner permitted for members of state boards and commissions. Per diem and travel expenses for members of the Advisory Task Force who are appointed as a member of a state agency are the responsibility of that state agency.
This Order takes effect immediately.
Dated at Juneau, Alaska, this 2nd day of August 2002.
By: S/S Tony Knowles