Governor Steve Bullock joined a bipartisan group of governors in urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to reject the latest political games and procedural maneuvers in the U.S. Senate and instead pursue an open and transparent process to find bipartisan solutions on health care reform that include both Republican and Democratic governors.
“As the Senate debates the House-passed American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), we urge you to set aside this flawed bill and work with Governors, both Democrats and Republicans, on solutions that will make health care more available and affordable for every American. True, lasting reforms can only be achieved in an open, bipartisan fashion,” the governors wrote in a joint letter sent yesterday.
The bipartisan group of governors expressed urgent concerns that the AHCA and other proposed amendments would rip healthcare away from millions of Americans, send insurance premiums skyrocketing, and bust state budgets.
Congress should be working to make health insurance more affordable while stabilizing the health insurance market, but this bill and similar proposals won’t accomplish these goals. The bill still threatens coverage for millions of hardworking, middle class Americans. The bill's Medicaid provisions shift costs to states and fail to provide the necessary resources to ensure that no one is left out, including the working poor or those suffering from mental illness or addiction. The Senate should also reject efforts to amend the bill into a ‘skinny repeal,’ which is expected to accelerate health plans leaving the individual market, increase premiums, and result in fewer Americans having access to coverage,” the governors continued.
Governor Bullock has consistently urged Congress to work with Republican and Democratic governors to find bipartisan solutions to fix America’s healthcare system. Last week, Bullock joined 4 other Democratic governors, 5 Republican governors, and 1 Independent to pursue an open, bipartisan process. Last month he joined a similar bipartisan group of governors to suggest a set of guiding principles to address rising healthcare costs and restore stability to insurance markets.
Bullock has publically criticized the secretive, one-party process 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.”
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 healthcare and the uninsured rate in Montana has dropped from a staggering 20% in 2013 to 7% in 2016.