Governor Steve Bullock today criticized efforts to destabilize the health insurance marketplace on the heels of a new report projecting a possible 19.8% increase in Montanans’ healthcare premiums by 2019.
“The amount of money you and I pay for healthcare is going to increase because of this Administration’s efforts to sabotage our current healthcare system and Congress’ lack of will to take action,” said Governor Bullock. “Governors on both sides of the aisle repeatedly called for an open and transparent process to find a bipartisan way to increase access to healthcare and lower costs, and we were repeatedly rejected. We need to fix this before it’s too late.”
Bullock has consistently fought to increase access and lower costs of healthcare and last year worked with a bipartisan group of governors to reject efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and instead pursue and open and transparent process to find bipartisan solutions on healthcare reform.
Bullock testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions and urged the committee to focus on the immediate steps Congress can take to stabilize premiums and help individuals in the insurance market.
“I believe we can find common ground in driving down costs and stabilizing the marketplace, and the time to act is now. While the perspectives of the governors appearing before you this morning are as diverse as the landscapes we represent, we are uniform in insisting that Cost Sharing Reduction payments be continued,” Bullock said at the time. “All of us urge you to create a temporary stability fund. We all agree you need to make sure both the healthy and unhealthy continue to be covered in order to spread the risk. And we all seek the opportunity to innovate while maintaining important consumer protections.”
Bullock and Republican and Democratic governors outlined guiding principles to ensure that quality health insurance is available and affordable for every American. The guiding principles call for Congress to address challenges to the private health insurance system, provide state flexibility, encourage innovation, and improve the regulatory environment.
“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.”
Bullock publicly criticized the secretive, one-party process to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act as “exactly what’s wrong with Washington, D.C” and blasted previous House and Senate proposals that would have damaging impacts on Montanans “half-baked and heartless.”
And he 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. Over 90,000 Montanans have gained access to healthcare and the uninsured rate in Montana has dropped from a staggering 20% in 2013 to 7% in 2016.