MTPR

American Health Care Act

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.

This week, Republicans in Congress will try to rally votes behind a bill that proposes major changes to the way Americans get health care and how much they pay. In Montana, many tens of thousands could be affected. Use this Q&A to explore how the bill would affect you.

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.

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.

CHART: Who Wins, Who Loses With Senate Health Care Bill

Jun 22, 2017

Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare. The long-awaited plan marks a big step toward achieving one of the Republican Party's major goals.

Greg Gianforte during his swearing in to the U.S. House, Wednesday, June 21, 2017.
CSPAN

Greg Gianforte was officially sworn in as Montana's sole representative in the U.S. House Wednesday.
 
The Republican entrepreneur from Bozeman takes office less than two weeks after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault for attacking Guardian Reporter Ben Jacobs the evening before in-person voting began in Montana’s special election May 25.

In an interview with MTPR after being sworn in, Gianforte said again that he wants to put the assault behind him.

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."

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.

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

More than 70,000 Montanans would lose health coverage under the health care bill being considered by Congress, and the state would lose $4.8 billion in federal funding.

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.

Sally Mauk: Welcome to "Capitol Talk," our weekly political analysis program. I'm Sally Mauk And I'm joined by veteran capitol reporter Chuck Johnson and University of Montana political science professor Rob Saldin.

SM: And Rob two new polls show the House race between Greg Gianforte and Rob Quist is narrowing from double digits to within six to eight points with Gianforte still leading but is getting closer what's going on do you think?

(PD)

Healthcare has again moved toward the top of the agenda in Montana’s special election race for the state’s lone seat in the U.S. House. Whichever candidate wins the race, there’s no way they’ll be able to represent everyone in Montana on healthcare.

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.

Montana didn’t have a vote on the healthcare bill that passed the U.S. House today. The state’s seat has been vacant since Ryan Zinke resigned it in March to become interior secretary.

Today the Greg Gianforte, Republican candidate to replace Zinke, talked to Montana Public Radio about the bill.

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.