MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock is working with a bipartisan group of governors from around the country to call for a bipartisan approach to improving our nation’s healthcare system. In a letter sent to the United States Senate, the governors outlined guiding principles to ensure that quality health insurance is available and affordable for every American.
“Congress is moving full speed ahead to pass legislation that will increase healthcare costs for hard-working Montanans and their families, cut coverage for seniors and kids, and gut protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions – all behind closed doors,” said Governor Bullock. “We can all agree – Republicans and Democrats – that health care is still too expensive. It’s time for folks in Washington D.C. to start working across the aisle to find meaningful solutions to actually increase the affordability and quality of health care across America instead of throwing thousands of Montanans, and millions of Americans, off of insurance.” [AUDIO]
In the letter, governors wrote that “Medicaid provisions included in this bill are particularly problematic. Instead, we recommend Congress address factors we can all agree need fixing.”
“While we certainly agree that reforms need to be made to our nation’s healthcare system, as Governors from both sides of the political aisle we feel that true and lasting reforms are best approached by finding common ground in a bipartisan fashion,” the governors wrote. “To that end, we remain hopeful that there is an opportunity to craft solutions to these challenges that can find support across party lines, delivering improvements to result in a system that is available and affordable for every American.”
Rather than focusing on changes to Medicaid, the seven governors called for Congress to first address challenges to the private health insurance system. The governor's further set out guiding principles that address rising healthcare costs, including restoring stability to insurance markets, providing state flexibility and encouraging innovation, and improving the regulatory environment.
The full letter is attached.
Governor Bullock earlier this week highlighted a new independent analysis that detailed the devastating impacts of the current healthcare proposal on Montana, including a $4.8 billion loss in federal funding, $500 million negative economic impact, 132,000 Montanans at risk of losing healthcare insurance, and still thousands more job losses.
Joining Governor Steve Bullock on the letter are: Governor John Kasich (R-OH), Governor John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Governor Brian Sandoval (R-NV), Governor Tom Wolf (D-PA), Governor Charlie Baker (R-MA), and Governor John Bel Edwards (D-LA).
Under Governor Bullock’s leadership, Montana policymakers, healthcare professionals, hospitals, businesses, patients, and insurance companies worked diligently to craft bipartisan, made-in-Montana healthcare solutions. In 2015 Bullock worked with Republican and Democratic legislators to pass the Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership (HELP) Act, an innovative approach to Medicaid expansion. This has led to a dramatic drop in the number of Montanans without insurance. Nearly 80,000 Montanans have gained access to health care and the uninsured rate in Montana has dropped from a staggering 20% in 2013 to 7% in 2016.