Alaska’s high healthcare costs, a Storytelling event
“Healthcare” from Flickr user: Pictures of Money

We’re going to continue our series on the high healthcare costs in Alaska with an evening of personal stories detailing how Alaskan health care costs have affected lives, businesses, and government. We’ll hear stories that illustrate the personal, economic, and fiscal consequences that our elevated healthcare costs have on all Alaskans.




  • Reed Smith is General Director of Anchorage Opera. He used to perform that job while living full time in Anchorage and now handles those duties from inside and outside of Alaska because high healthcare costs caused him to move back out of the state.
  • Emily Ricci is a Health Care Policy Administrator for the Alaska Department of Administration who shares about finding out she had cancer and her personal campaign to be the best unemployed cancer patient possible.
  • Eric McCallum is President of Arctic Wire Rope & Supply and has learned to make hard choices to keep insurance possible for his employees.
  • Mike Jens sought estimates for radiation treatment to address his wife’s breast cancer. He is a 72-year-old, mostly retired, engineering/construction consultant.
  • Moira Gallagher is the Live.Work.Play. Director for the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation and is learning the hard way how high health costs affect families looking to have children.
  • Erin Freel’s family has health care coverage due to her husband’s military service, and her son has a disease that leads to substantial expenditures for treatment.


  • John Parsi, an Associate at the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine.




RECORDED: Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 49th State Brewing Company.


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Eric Bork, or you can just call him “Bork” because everybody else does, is the FM Operations Manager for KSKA-FM. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the FM broadcast. He produces and edits episodes of Outdoor Explorer, the Alaska-focused outdoors program. He also maintains the web posts for that show. You may have heard him filling in for Morning Edition or hosting All Things Considered and can still find him operating the soundboard for any of the live broadcast programs.

After escaping the Detroit area when he was 18, Bork made it up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where he earned a degree in Communications/Radio Broadcasting from Northern Michigan University. He spent time managing the college radio station, working for the local NPR affiliate, and then in top 40 radio in Michigan before coming to Alaska to work his first few summers. After then moving to Chicago, it only took five years to convince him to move back to Alaska in 2010. When not involved in great radio programming he’s probably riding a bicycle, thinking about riding bicycles, dreaming about bikes, reading a book, or planning the next place he’ll travel to. Only two continents left to conquer!

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