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Healthcare

Healthcare news from Montana Public Radio.

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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”. 

Senate Republicans issued a revised version of their health care bill Monday.

The U.S. Senate’s original health care bill released last week did not penalize anyone who let their insurance lapse. Under the new package introduced Monday, anyone lacking coverage for at least 63 days in the past year and who then buys a policy would face a six-month delay before it takes effect. 

Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines says the Senate’s draft bill needed that kind of incentive:

Sen. Steve Daines.
Courtesy photo

Montana’s Republican U.S. Senator says that while he has not yet decided if he’ll support the Senate health care bill, one issue would be deal breaker for him.

As written, the Senate health care bill de-funds Planned Parenthood for one year.

And that’s just fine with Montana’s Republican and pro-life U.S. Senator Steve Daines:        

Both of Montana’s senators will host virtual town halls this week ahead of the U.S. Senate vote on its version of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Josh Burnham

Both of Montana’s senators will host virtual town halls this week ahead of the U.S. Senate vote on its version of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

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 was officially sworn in as Montana's sole representative in 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."

Part of the collapsed deck at the Glacier Presbyterian Camp near Lakeside, MT.
Nicky Ouellet

Two of the people who were critically injured when a deck collapsed at a church camp on the west side of Flathead Lake Saturday are now classified as in good condition at Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

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.

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