MTPR

Affordable Care Act

The three biggest health insurance companies in Montana met with state insurance commissioner Matt Rosendale Wednesday to explain their price increases for 2018.

Sen. Jon Tester.
PD

Montana’s senators on Tuesday took opposite votes on whether to begin debate on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) says the U.S. Senate needs to do its job and pass a bill on health care. This on the news that the Senate Majority Leader plans to hold a vote next week even though it is unclear as of Friday what lawmakers will be voting on.

Josh Burnham

Senator Jon Tester is ripping the new Senate health care bill, Senator Steve Daines says he needs more time to study it.

In a press release, Democrat Tester said, “This pig just got more lipstick, but still smells like a pigpen.” He said the bill will rip away coverage from thousands of Montanans, deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and impose a, quote, “age tax” on people in their 50s and 60s.

Montana Insurers Propose Rate Increases From 2 - 23 Percent
(PD)

Montana’s health insurance companies are asking for rate increases for 2018 ranging from 2 percent to 23 percent. Those numbers released today are much lower than the rate increases for last year, some of which topped 50 percent.

The proposed increases are only for the individual and small group markets. Most Montanans get their health coverage elsewhere, either through their jobs or government programs like Medicaid, Medicare and the Veterans Administration.

John Goodnow is the CEO of Benefis Health System, Montana's second-largest, in Great Falls
Eric Whitney

The CEO of one of Montana's largest hospitals says Republicans are helping to create the instability that’s causing insurance companies to leave the federal health care exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.

John Goodnow, CEO of Benefis Health System in Great Falls, said Republican talk about reducing subsidies that help people buy coverage is a, quote, "slick trick" to ensure the exchanges will fail.

Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, MT.
Eric Whitney

Nurses, hospitals and other health care providers are holding a public forum on the proposed Senate health care bill Thursday, July 6 in Helena. It’s being put on by the Montana Nurses Association.

Daines, Tester Voice Their Thoughts On GOP Healthcare

Jun 30, 2017

 

Members of Congress are home for their 4th of July recess without voting on the Republican’s health care proposal.

Sen. Steve Daines during a June 28 telephone town hall meeting on healthcare.
Courtesy Steve Daines.

Senator Steve Daines says he wants to hear from Montanans before deciding how he’ll vote on the Republican health care proposal currently stalled in the U.S. Senate.

And hear from them, Daines did Wednesday night during his 17th live healthcare tele-town hall meeting.

Daines faced an earnest and sometimes feisty series of questions from Montanans trying to make sense of the complicated healthcare debate:

Democratic Senator Jon Tester held a digital town hall Tuesday night to answer questions about the Republican health care proposal awaiting action in the U.S. Senate.

The hour long Facebook live event came hours after Senate Republican leaders announced a delay on the vote for their long-awaited plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare”. 

As Congress works on overhauling health care, the company with perhaps the most at stake in Montana is Blue Cross and Blue Shield. It's a division of Health Care Service Corporation, which says it's the fourth largest insurance company in America.

Montana Public Radio’s Eric Whitney talked about the changes Congress is proposing with John Doran, a vice president and chief of staff for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana.

The public may get a look at a draft of the Senate healthcare bill for the first time this week. What’s it mean for Montana? Here's what the CEO of one health insurance company based in Helena says about it:

"I don't think that their plan is going to improve health care in the state of Montana. I think just the opposite is going to happen. And I think, I really do think a lot of people are going to get hurt."

Gov. Bullock signs the Medicaid expansion plan into law on April 29, 2015 at the captiol. The bill's sponsor Sen. Ed Buttrey, and supporter Stephanie Wallace look on.
Steve Jess

Governor Steve Bullock has joined a bi-partisan group of six other governors asking Congress to overhaul the existing Affordable Care Act, rather than replacing it with one passed by the U.S. House.

Pacific Source Health
Pacific Source Health website

Insurance companies in Montana last week filed their proposed prices for 2018. They send them to the state insurance commissioner for review and generally don't reveal what they plan to charge until after the commissioner has had a chance to look at their proposals. Setting prices is particularly challenging when Congress is at work on a replacement for the Affordable Care Act.

Senator Daines Urged To Protect Medicaid

Jun 6, 2017
Naomi Gerheim spoke at the event Tuesday
Edward O'Brien

About fifty people gathered Tuesday at the Missoula office of Montana Senator Steve Daines. Their message was loud and clear.

Many Democrats are hoping the GOP health care bill that narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives is going to push political momentum their way, and result in big gains in the 2018 midterm elections. A special election next week in Montana may be an early test for this theory.

Rob Quist held a roundtable on women’s health with current and former state lawmakers in Missoula, May 12, 2017.
Eric Whitney

On the day Republican candidate Greg Gianforte was grabbing headlines around Billings because of Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the state, Democrat Rob Quist was at a low key event in Missoula.

Quist held a roundtable on women’s health with current and former state lawmakers Marilyn Ryan, Ellie Boldman-Hill Smith and Carol Williams, as well as Dr. Joey Banks from Blue Mountain Clinic, and Stacie Anderson, who is on the board of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana.

Donald Trump Jr. returned to Montana on May 11 to rally supporters for U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte in Butte, Montana.
Corin Cates-Carney

Donald Trump Jr., the head of the NRA, and Republican candidate Greg Gianforte rallied supporters in Butte, Thursday morning, two weeks before voting ends in the special election to decide Montana’s next lone representative in the U.S. House.

When the race started, Democrats saw the May 25 special election as an opportunity for a referendum against President Donald Trump. But Trump Jr. promised the crowd of about 170 supporters gathered outside a mining equipment and supply store just south of Butte’s uptown, that this would be a referendum of a different kind.

Republican House Candidate Greg Gianforte’s campaign is downplaying his comments about the House healthcare bill that were secretly recorded and leaked to the media.

The New York Times says the comments were taped Thursday, “during a private conference call with Republican-leaning lobbyists in Washington.”

Rob Quist speaks at the Democratic Party's nominating convention in Helena.
Corin Cates Carney

Democratic candidate for Montana’s U.S. House seat Rob Quist says the healthcare bill the House passed yesterday, "gives a massive tax cut to millionaires while jacking up premiums for Montanans.” He says he would have voted against the bill.

Quist favors keeping the current Affordable Care Act in place, but says it needs some fixes. We’ll hear his comments on that in a moment.

Greg Gianforte, Rob Quist and Mark Wicks at the MTN News debate April 29, 2017.
Screen capture courtesy MTN News

Mark Wicks, the Libertarian candidate for Montana’s U.S. House seat, got statewide exposure in the race’s only televised debate Friday, produced and broadcast by MTN News.

"We’ve been doing the same thing over and over and over, and we get the same result: People back in Washington that aren’t doing what they’re supposed to because they’re beholden to special interests, they’re taking lobbyist money. I’m not beholden to any of that." Wicks said during the debate.

Montana Lawmakers Push Bills On Health Costs, Transparency

Apr 17, 2017
Montana capitol, Helena.
William Marcus

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Congress may be undecided about former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, but Montana lawmakers are pushing through legislation they believe will bring down health care costs and increase price transparency regardless of what happens in Washington.

A half-dozen measures were still alive as the 2017 legislative session enters its final days. They include authorizing a high-risk insurance pool, allowing out-of-state insurers to sell policies in Montana, better informing patients about health care prices and giving tax credits to small companies that offer high-deductible plans to their employees.

Montana’s top insurance regulator is promoting a new healthcare coverage option that he doesn’t regulate.

It's called Medi-Share, and is run by a Christian non-profit in Florida that markets it as a ministry where members pay into accounts that are used to pay medical bills for other members.

Health coverage in Montana.
Montana Commissioner of Securities & Insurance

In Montana, more than 47,000 people qualify for tax credits that lower their monthly health insurance premiums. Those tax credits were created by the Affordable Care Act, what some people call Obamacare. Many of those people would see big changes if the Republican healthcare bill in the works in Congress now becomes law.

Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson and Rob Saldin review the legislature's busy week as the state budget heads out of the House and on to the Senate. They also discuss how the debate over healthcare and the Trump administration's proposed federal budget is affecting Montana's upcoming special election in May.

Sen. Tester hears constituent concerns at Helena town hall, March 17, 2017.
Nicky Ouellet

Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester was in Helena Friday afternoon for an in-person town hall. You can listen to the full meeting at the bottom of this post.

Tester spoke for a little over an hour to a friendly crowd of 200 people at Helena Middle School. Town halls nationwide have become confrontational events for many members of Congress. Recently, Montana’s Republican Senator Steve Daines has taken heat for not meeting face-to-face with constituents back home. He hosted a so-called “tele-town hall” two weeks ago, which he says allows him to interact with more Montanans because people don't have to travel to participate in them.

Rob Quist speaks during a campaign event in Whitefish, MT March 13, 2017.
Nicky Ouellet

Candidates for the upcoming special election to fill Montana’s lone house seat have hit the campaign trail. Democratic candidate Rob Quist held a campaign kickoff in Whitefish Monday night.

Casey’s Bar and Grill in downtown Whitefish is usually a weekend night club, but on Monday night, more than 100 people fill the dance floor to hear hometown candidate Quist at an event hosted by the Flathead Democratic Party.

Congressional Healthcare Bill Response Tracker

Mar 13, 2017

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Montana Standard Editor David McCumber.
Mike Albans

In 2009 Montana Senator Max Baucus helped write special provisions into the Affordable Care act that ensure extra help and healthcare are available to residents in Libby who are suffering from asbestos-related disease. But some Montana residents are concerned that if Obamacare is repealed and replaced, these provisions will disappear.

MTPR's Nora Saks speaks with David McCumber, editor of the Montana Standard to learn more.

A new report says Montana stands to lose more than $284 million in healthcare funding if Congress repeals the Medicaid expansion that’s part of the Affordable Care Act.
Courtesy

A new report says Montana stands to lose more than $284 million in healthcare funding if Congress repeals the Medicaid expansion that’s part of the Affordable Care Act.

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