State of Montana Archives: on Health Care


Steve Bullock: Passed Medicaid expansion with bipartisan support

When Bullock pointed out that repeal of the ACA would kill Montana's Medicaid expansion that provided health insurance to 90,000 Montanans, Daines termed the attack "Right out of Chuck Schumer's playbook." Bullock shot back that his position on health care "is a playbook right out of Montana. We've actually brought folks together to get out the health care Senator Daines has tried to take away." It took a bipartisan effort to pass Medicaid expansion in Montana.
Source: The Missoulian on 2020 Montana Senate debate Sep 28, 2020

Steve Bullock: COVID: don't like masks but need to let science drive this

The two drew clear lines on the contentious subject of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Bullock instituted a mask mandate for all counties with more than four cases. Daines said masking should be a matter of personal responsibility, "not a federal or state mandate." Bullock responded that, "I don't like these masks any more than anyone else. "But we need to let science drive this . this shouldn't be about politics, Senator, this should be about public health," Bullock said.
Source: The Missoulian on 2020 Montana Senate debate Sep 28, 2020

Steve Daines: Repeal Obamacare; protect those with pre-existing conditions

Daines has said repeatedly that even if the court upholds the repeal of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, he'd ensure protections--including against exorbitant fees--for people with preexisting conditions. When Bullock pointed out that repeal of the ACA would kill Montana's Medicaid expansion that provided health insurance to 90,000 Montanans, Daines termed the attack "Right out of Chuck Schumer's playbook."
Source: The Missoulian on 2020 Montana Senate debate Sep 28, 2020

Steve Daines: COVID: no masking mandate, personal responsibility

The two drew clear lines on the contentious subject of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Bullock instituted a mask mandate for all counties with more than four cases. Daines said masking should be a matter of personal responsibility, "not a federal or state mandate."
Source: The Missoulian on 2020 Montana Senate debate Sep 28, 2020

Steve Bullock: Medicaid expansion has kept rural hospitals open

The governor will host a roundtable with health officials to discuss how COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of removing barriers towards getting needed health care. According to the governor's office, 10 times more services were delivered via telehealth in April than in February for Medicaid expansion numbers. The governor's office also said Montana hasn't lost one rural hospital thanks to Medicaid expansion which covers the cost of COVID-19 related treatments.
Source: KULR-8 NBC-TV on 2020 Montana Senate race Jul 7, 2020

Steve Bullock: Wal-Mart can negotiate drug prices, so should government

Bullock is dissing Daines for voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act and "taking away" health care from Montanans, as well as being a yes-man for pharmaceutical companies. "I mean, the idea that Costco or Wal-Mart can negotiate prescription drug prices but the federal government won't even do it, because they're captured by the drug industry?" he said.
Source: KTVH NBC-TV-Helena on 2020 Montana Senate race Jun 22, 2020

Jack Ciattarelli: Restore state mental health services but don't raise taxes

When Governor Bullock made the decision to cut mental health services across the state, it was the wrong thing to do. Many community-based mental health services went away, and it will be difficult to bring those back, even if you fund them. We are hugely underserving the part of the population in mental health crisis. If I can find the wherewithal without raising taxes to shuffle the resources in our budget to more fully fund community mental health services, we will do that.
Source: Boulder Monitor on 2020 Montana gubernatorial race Apr 1, 2020

Mike Cooney: Lower the cost, expand access to care

Healthcare remains one of the top issues Montana families face. Mike has been championing increased access to quality and affordable healthcare since he worked for Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, a non-profit organization that serves women and children. Mike has already proposed to pass a bipartisan policy to allow for the safe importation of prescription drugs from Canada to lower the burden of costs for all Montanans.
Source: 2020 Montana governor campaign website CooneyForMontana.com Mar 25, 2020

Wilmot Collins: Heathcare is a right for all, not a luxury for a few

I want you to join with me as one collective voice to make it heard loud and clear that no longer is it acceptable for a young mother to have to make the choice between paying the bills and getting to see a doctor. Healthcare is a right for all not a luxury for a few. People should never have to declare bankruptcy because they get sick.
Source: 2020 Montana Senate campaign website, WilmotCollins.com Jan 12, 2020

Casey Schreiner: Won reauthorization of Medicaid expansion

Casey is a champion for working families because he comes from one. As House Democratic Leader, Casey broke the logjam on reauthorizing Medicaid expansion and protecting health care for 1 in 10 Montanans, delivered a major infrastructure package that will break ground all across the state, and pushed for firefighter health and safety legislation that was 15 years in the making.
Source: 2020 Montana governor campaign website CaseyForMontana.com Dec 31, 2019

Casey Schreiner: Will fight to lower drug costs, take on big pharma

As Democratic Leader, Casey worked with both sides of the aisle to reauthorize Medicaid expansion, which threw a lifeline to rural Montana hospitals, supported small businesses, and protected the health care of 1 in 10 Montanans. Casey knows that Montanans are paying too much for their life-saving medicine. He'll fight non-stop to lower drug costs and take big pharmaceutical companies to task for price hikes.
Source: 2020 Montana governor campaign website CaseyForMontana.com Dec 31, 2019

Whitney Williams: EMILY's List: Will fight to reduce drug, health care cost

Whitney Williams is a hardworking businesswoman who is the perfect choice to lead my home state of Montana. As a sixth-generation Montanan, Whitney is deeply familiar with the issues facing working families and is dedicated to creating an economy that offers everyone a fair chance to succeed. When elected, Whitney will fight to reduce prescription drug costs, make quality health care more affordable, and protect the state's precious public lands.
Source: 2020 Montana Gubernatorial race: Emily's List endorsements Oct 8, 2019

Casey Schreiner: Choice between health or quality of life is "disgusting"

He said he lost his father a year ago due to complications from Type 2 diabetes. He added that his father, because of the high cost of his medicine, had to decide every day whether he was going to take his insulin or have the quality of life to be happy. "If you are making a decision between quality of life and quality of health, that's a disgusting choice that no Montanan should have to make," he said.
Source: Havre Daily News on 2020 Montana gubernatorial race Sep 20, 2019

Tim Fox: Repeal and replace ObamaCare

"I agree with President Trump. He wants to have pre-existing coverage, so do I. He has agreed that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, I agree with him there. He believes as I do that Congress needs to get their act together. They need to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act," Fox said on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon.
Source: NBC-Montana on 2020 Montana governor race Apr 3, 2019

Steve Bullock: Medicaid expansion good for business & jobs

In 2015 we passed one of the most innovative Medicaid expansion programs in the nation. No other state has increased labor force participation like we have because of our HELP-Link program. If I told you I had a business coming to Montana that would create between 5,900 and 7,500 jobs--that would infuse over $350 million of new personal income into our state--you would tell me that sounds pretty darn good. That's exactly what Medicaid expansion has done and will continue to do.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to the Montana legislature Jan 31, 2019

Jon Tester: I won't give up on repealing & replacing ObamaCare

Q: Support or Repeal Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as ObamaCare? Position on Medicaid expansion?

Matt Rosendale (R): Repeal. "I won't give up on repealing & replacing ObamaCare." Voted against MT Medicaid expansion.

Jon Tester (D): Support. Not perfect, but has helped rural hospitals & health centers, provided families with coverage, & stopped big insurance companies from denying folks coverage. Supports Medicaid expansion.

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Montana Senate race Oct 9, 2018

Matt Rosendale: I won't give up on repealing & replacing ObamaCare

Q: Support or Repeal Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as ObamaCare? Position on Medicaid expansion to subsidize low-income participants?

Matt Rosendale (R): Repeal. "I won't give up on repealing & replacing ObamaCare." Can replace while keeping affordability & protecting pre-existing conditions with high-risk pools. Voted against MT Medicaid expansion.

Jon Tester (D): Support. Not perfect, but has helped rural hospitals & health centers. Supports Medicaid expansion.

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org: Montana legislative voting records Oct 9, 2018

Albert Olszewski: Repeal and replace Obamacare, with bipartisan approach

As a physician and a legislator, my strategy for reforming our healthcare system consists of three parts:
  1. Immediate healthcare regulation reform.
  2. Repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
  3. The development of a new healthcare system utilizing a bipartisan approach.
    Source: 2018 Montana Senatorial website AlForSenate.us Oct 1, 2017

    Albert Olszewski: Repeal and replace Obamacare with bipartisan approach

    As a physician and a legislator, my strategy for reforming our healthcare system consists of three parts:
    Source: 2018 Montana Senate campaign website AlForSenate.us Aug 8, 2017

    Matt Rosendale: Full repeal of Obamacare

    Democrats have attacked Rosendale on his support for a full repeal of Obamacase. Said Montana Democratic spokesman Chris Meagher, "Matt Rosendale has failed at his job as insurance commissioner, and has done nothing to keep health care costs down," Meagher said. "He's another vote to increase health care costs and take away health care from thousands of Montanans. He's another politician interfering with a woman's right to make her own health care decisions."
    Source: Helena Independent Record on 2018 Montana Senate race Jul 31, 2017

    Albert Olszewski: Halt expansion of Medicaid; halt ObamaCare unfunded mandates

    While Olszewski remains opposed to ObamaCare and voted against Montana's expansion of Medicaid last session, he said Republican efforts in Congress to replace the federal health-care law with the American Health Care Act--a measure lawmakers ultimately withdrew--were misguided.

    "The intent was good but it missed the mark," he said. "It didn't do anything to touch the very complex network of regulations. What is killing me as an independent business owner are the regulations and unfunded mandates."

    Source: Flathead Beacon on 2018 Montana Senate race Apr 11, 2017

    Albert Olszewski: ObamaCare is imploding; shore up healthcare system

    Olszewski said, "Health care is in a struggle to decide what it's going to do in the 21st Century," he said. "Private health insurance is very unstable. And we're really at an area where ObamaCare is imploding. What we need to do is, we need to find a way to shore up, or fix the health-care system, so it doesn't collapse around us."

    [Olszewski opposed the unsuccessful Republican efforts in Congress to replace ObamaCare with the American Health Care Act as well-intended but "misguided".]

    Source: KTVQ on 2018 Montana Senate race Apr 11, 2017

    Steve Bullock: Worked with legislature to expand Medicaid

    In 2015, Steve brought Republicans and Democrats together again to provide affordable health care coverage for up to 70,000 working Montanans through Medicaid expansion, becoming the only governor in 2015 to work with a legislature to expand Medicaid.

    OnTheIssues Note: "Medicaid expansion" is a major aspect of ObamaCare implementation at the state level. As of 2016, sixteen states rejected Medicaid expansion; of those, 15 have Republican governors.

    Source: 2016 Montana gubernatorial campaign website SteveBullock.com Mar 21, 2016

    Greg Gianforte: Provide for those who cannot provide for themselves

    Healthcare costs are rising sharply and account for 40% of our state budget. We must provide for those who cannot provide for themselves, but work for increased price transparency and consumer incentives to make healthcare affordable for our hardworking families.
    Source: 2016 Montana governor's campaign website GregForMontana.com Feb 3, 2016

    Brad Johnson: Opposes Medicaid expansion

    Johnson called himself a "proven vote-getter" with strong conservative positions, such as opposition to abortion, support of gun rights, support of "school choice" and opposition to expanded government, such as Medicaid coverage for poor people.
    Source: KRTV.com on 2016 Montana gubernatorial race Sep 23, 2015

    Albert Olszewski: Voted NO on insuring the working poor with federal dollars

    Gov. Bullock in State of the State speech said, "Rep. Noonan and I are proposing a uniquely Montana plan--based upon the popular Healthy Montana Kids Plan--that will extend coverage to tens of thousands of Montanans. The Healthy Montana Plan will bring our federal dollars back to Montana, to cover those without insurance.

    Rep. Olszewski voted NAY on Committee Report vote, March 10, 2015 (bill failed 41-59-0)

    HB 249 Legislative Summary: A bill for an act entitled: "an act creating the Healthy Montana Act to expand health care coverage to additional individuals and improve access to health care services; establishing a health care coverage program to provide certain low-income Montanans with access to health care services using Medicaid funds and an arrangement with a third-party administrator; providing support for health care delivery across Montana; and establishing a special revenue account.

    Source: laws.leg.mt.gov on 2015 Montana voting records: HB 249 Jan 28, 2015

    Steve Bullock: Insure the working poor with federal dollars

    The 70,000 Montanans who are hiding in plain view are the working poor. That's why Representative Noonan and I are proposing a uniquely Montana plan--based upon the popular Healthy Montana Kids Plan--that will extend coverage to tens of thousands of Montanans. The Healthy Montana Plan will bring our federal dollars back to Montana, to cover those without insurance. We will negotiate with a private carrier to drive down rates and reform the way that Medicaid is delivered in this state.

    HB 249 Legislative Summary: A bill for an act entitled: "an act creating the Healthy Montana Act to expand health care coverage to additional individuals and improve access to health care services; establishing a health care coverage program to provide certain low-income Montanans with access to health care services using Medicaid funds and an arrangement with a third-party administrator; providing support for health care delivery across Montana; and establishing a special revenue account.

    Source: State of the State on 2015 Montana voting records: HB 249 Jan 28, 2015

    Ryan Zinke: ObamaCare is reckless; replace with cross-state pools& HSAs

    ObamaCare as written is reckless and will lead to higher costs with less medical care. We can do better, particularly for the aging population in Montana, who are on fixed incomes and are certain to face higher premiums and no coverage at all for many conditions. Health care must be affordable but not free, innovative by design, and be focused on giving the medical professionals the freedom and latitude to provide quality care rather than having Washington telling us how to be a doctor, nurse, or provider. Innovative solutions such as expanding health care pools, allowing those pools to form across state lines, promoting Health Savings Accounts and passing meaningful tort reform will go a long way to lowering health care costs.
    Source: 2014 Montana House campaign website, RyanZinke.com Nov 4, 2014

    Amanda Curtis: ObamaCare: don't throw the baby out with the bathwater

    Curtis has supported a state expansion of Medicaid--something Republicans who control the Montana Legislature have blocked--and says now there are good things and bad things about the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. "I'm not a person who will throw the baby out with the bathwater," Curtis said.
    Source: Billings Gazette on 2014 Montana Senate race Aug 16, 2014

    Sam Rankin: Tort reform plus higher deductibles & co-pays

    Source: 2014 Montana Senate campaign website, SamRankin.com Jul 27, 2014

    Champ Edmunds: Repeal ObamaCare; it's not a government responsibility

    Question topic: It is the government's responsibility to be sure everyone has health care and a livable income.

    Edmunds: Strongly Disagree

    Question topic: The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) should be repealed by Congress.

    Edmunds: Strongly Agree

    Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 Montana Senate race Jul 2, 2014

    John Edward Walsh: Yes to Medicare Rx negotiations; no to privatization

    While Walsh spent part of his speech blasting Daines, he also spelled out some of his own positions, saying he supports increasing the minimum wage, cutting waste in the defense budget, and allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.

    Walsh leveled his strongest attack yet against his likely challenger, Republican Steve Daines, calling Daines the purveyor of a "cruel ideology" that "only seeks to preserve privilege."

    Walsh slammed Daines for votes to "privatize Medicare," cut tax rates for the wealthy, shut down the federal government last October and cut food stamps. He pointed to Daines' 2013 vote for the proposed House Republican budget, which would have converted Medicare to a system of subsidies to help the elderly buy private insurance or traditional Medicare, as well as reduced tax rates for the wealthy and most taxpayers.

    Source: Ravalli Republic on 2014 Montana Senate race Mar 9, 2014

    John Bohlinger: Strong advocate of a single-payer system like Medicare

    I asked Bohlinger how he'd talk to Montana voters about the Affordable Care Act.

    "We know that the Affordable Care Act has met with a great deal of resistance in Montana," he said, carefully. "People are disappointed that it hasn't been able to deliver what was promised. We know that--oh, gosh, more than 30,000 Montanans have had their insurance policies canceled."

    "It's 38,000 now," interjected Bohlinger's strategist.

    "And the new insurance is more expensive than the old insurance," said the candidate. "It hasn't worked. We're strong advocates of a single-payer system. Medicare works for me." Bohlinger went on, talking about how Montana had invested in hospitals for state employees, and how one of them had outfitted him with a titanium hip. "My out-of-pocket cost was $300."

    Source: David Weigel on Slate.com on 2014 Montana Senate race Dec 13, 2013

    John Bohlinger: Expand Medicaid to cover 70,000 low-income Montanans

    John Bohlinger stepped into the health-care fray Wednesday, saying Gov. Steve Bullock should call a special session of the Legislature to expand Medicaid to cover 70,000 low-income Montanans without health insurance. "I think this is a crisis and this is something that has to be dealt with," Bohlinger told reporters. "I say let's bring the legislative assembly together to deal with the problem now."

    Yet the Democratic governor expressed no enthusiasm for the idea. Bullock, who proposed expanding Medicaid this year, has said that he sees no point in calling a special session, because the Republican majority in the Legislature is likely to reject it again.

    Bohlinger said the issue of Medicaid expansion is too important to wait until 2015. Thousands of low-income Montanans are unable to get health-care coverage that will be required next year, either because they've had difficult using the new online ObamaCare marketplace or because they're too poor to get any assistance, he said.

    Source: Ravalli Republic on 2014 Montana Senate race Nov 20, 2013

    Steve Bullock: Access Health Montana: increase coverage and access

    To have a healthy economy, we need healthy citizens. For those of us with health insurance, we're paying too much and getting too little. And for the tens of thousands of Montanans who don't have insurance, the Emergency Room has become a primary care facility, pushing costs for all of us even higher. The fact is, subsidizing expensive ER care for the uninsured costs Montanans $300 million a year. That makes no sense when there is a smarter, cheaper way to provide better care.

    Through Access Health Montana, we are proposing a made-in-Montana solution designed to increase coverage and access to health care for more Montana families. It will also create a patient-centered delivery system that focuses on coordinating care and improving health, rather than simply treating illness. Implementing these measures will allow us to better control and ultimately lower the costs of health care--slowing the annual rate hikes that hit all of our wallets.

    Source: 2013 State of the State Address to Montana legislature Jan 30, 2013

    Jon Tester: Protect people with pre-existing medical conditions

    Tester defended the Affordable Care Act at times, citing provisions that protect people with pre-existing medical conditions and protect sick people from having their insurance policies terminated. There are parts of the health care bill "that will help" working families and small businesses, he said. "To listen to the Congressman talk, you would think that the old system was just grand. It wasn't grand," Tester said.
    Source: Daily Inter Lake on 2012 Montana Senate debates Oct 14, 2012

    Bill McChesney: Mandated insurance ok; tort reform not

    Q: Do you support expanding access to health care through commercial health insurance reform?

    A: Yes.

    Q: Do you support interstate health insurance compacts?

    A: Yes.

    Q: Should individuals be required to purchase health care insurance?

    A: Yes.

    A: No.. I'm not as supportive of limits on monetary awards as I am of insuring that there are monetary penalties for frivolous and/or fraudulent lawsuits.

    Source: Montana State Congressional 2010 Political Courage Test Nov 1, 2010

    Michael Lange: No nationalized health care system

    Source: Montana Congressional Election 2008 Political Courage Test Nov 1, 2008

    Ryan Zinke: Caps on medical malpractice; no government health insurance

    Source: Montana Congressional 2008 Political Courage Test Nov 1, 2008

    Jon Tester: Families canít afford to get sick; thatís not health care

    You need somebody back in Washington DC whoíll address the health care problems in this country. Right now, when families canít afford to get sick, thatís not health care. Weíre 19th in the world; we didnít used to be that way. You want to talk about medical research? Weíre in the process of under-funding the National Institute of Health, so our medical research is going to start heading to the Pacific Rim, under this current administrationís watch. Thatís not the right direction.
    Source: 2006 Montana 3-way Senate Debate at MSU Oct 9, 2006

    Judy Martz: Insured 10,000 kids under CHIPs; aim for 20,000

    Thanks to the Childrenís Health Insurance Program, 10,000 formerly uninsured youngsters have good health insurance coverage. Thatís progress in my book. We eliminated the small enrollment fee and have simplified the application process. We have come half way in our goal to insure a total of 20,000 children. Iím going to continue to bring more Montanans under the umbrella of affordable health insurance. Weíll qualify families for CHIP at incomes up to 160% of poverty.
    Source: 2001 State of the State Address to Montana Legislature Jan 25, 2001

    Corey Stapleton: Government not responsible for medical care

    Source: 2000 Montana State National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2000

    John Bohlinger: Ensure healthcare for uninsured children

    Source: Montana Legislative 1998 National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 1998

    • The above quotations are from State of Montana Politicians: Archives.
    • Click here for definitions & background information on Health Care.
    • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
    2020 Presidential contenders on Health Care:
      Democrats running for President:
    Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
    V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
    Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
    Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
    Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
    Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
    Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
    Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
    Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
    Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
    Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
    Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
    Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
    CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
    Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
    Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
    CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

    2020 Third Party Candidates:
    Rep.Justin Amash (L-MI)
    CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
    Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
    Howie Hawkins (G-NY)
    Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
    Howard Schultz(I-WA)
    Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
    Republicans running for President:
    Sen.Ted Cruz(R-TX)
    Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
    Gov.John Kasich(R-OH)
    V.P.Mike Pence(R-IN)
    Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
    Pres.Donald Trump(R-NY)
    Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
    Gov.Bill Weld(R-MA & L-NY)

    2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
    Sen.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
    Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
    Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
    Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
    Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
    Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
    Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
    Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
    Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
    Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
    Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
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    Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
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