HELENA, Mont. – Governor Bullock hung vulnerable Montanans out to dry and abandoned people struggling to make ends meet with his veto of bipartisan House Bill 652 this week.
“The health insurance market is incredibly unstable right now and Montanans are likely going to face even higher insurance rates,” Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Matt Rosendale said. “Governor Bullock has abandoned Montanans who are vulnerable to rising premiums and loss of coverage with his veto of HB 652. The governor has sacrificed good, bipartisan policy in favor of bad, partisan politics.”
“Make no mistake, Montanans will suffer because the governor refuses to accept the reality of the health insurance market and refuses to even listen to any new approaches toward solving the problem of high health care costs,” Rosendale continued.
HB 652, sponsored by Rep. Rob Cook (R-Conrad) would have allowed the insurance commissioner’s office to pursue a waiver from the federal government to create a made-in-Montana reinsurance program or other mechanism to stabilize the health insurance marketplace and reduce the cost of health insurance. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) allows states to request 1332 innovation waivers to create state-specific programs to improve health insurance access and reduce costs. A waiver could also be pursued in the event of a repeal or change to Obamacare at the federal level.
“We could have improved Montanans’ health care by reducing the cost of health insurance, providing more access, protecting people with preexisting conditions, and stabilizing the insurance market with this bipartisan bill,” Rosendale said. “We could have accomplished this regardless of whether Congress repeals Obamacare or keeps it in place. Reinsurance and state innovation has been proven to work in Alaska and enjoys bipartisan support around the nation. It’s incomprehensible outside of petty partisan politics why Bullock would have vetoed such a common sense and beneficial bill.”
“Despite the governor leaving Montanans to fend for themselves against national health insurance trends, my office is going to keep pushing for made-in-Montana solutions to these problems,” Rosendale said. “Fortunately for Montanans who are struggling to make ends meet and access affordable health care, Bullock doesn’t get the last word on these issues.”
The Application, Review, and Reporting Process for Waivers for State Innovation can be found here from the Federal Register.
Information on the approval process for state innovation waivers can be found here from the Government Accountability Office.