By: Paul Dragu and John Kelleher
State Auditor Matt Rosendale was in Havre Thursday, part of a whirlwind tour of northern Montana to educate the public about potential scams by contractors repairing hailstorm damage.
He conducted a public session on the topic at the Havre Inn and Suites. He was in Lewistown Wednesday and will be in Great Falls [Thursday afternoon].
Before his presentation, Rosendale met with Herald reporters and touched on several topics.
He said his office will be bustling with activity for the next 45 days as his employees work to implement legislation passed by the recently adjourned 66th Montana Legislature, which he lauded as a success.
On Tuesday, Gov. Steve Bullock signed Senate Bill 125, creating a Montana reinsurance program for the individual health insurance market. The law will reduce insurance rates by up to 20 percent for nearly 55,000 people, Rosendale said.
He’s also been heartened by the bipartisan support Senate Bill 71 received and is hopeful Gov. Steve Bullock will sign it within the next week.
That bill is intended to reduce the price of prescription drugs for Montanans by up to $8 million a year. It would do so by regulating how insurance companies contract with Pharmacy Benefit Managers, the middlemen between pharmacies and drug manufacturers accused of playing a major role in the high cost of prescription drugs.
Despite its bipartisan support, Rosendale said he isn’t certain the governor will sign SB 71, which he said is the only legislative measure that would truly affect prescription drug prices.
The governor received the bill on Monday. As of Thursday afternoon, Bullock had 268 bills awaiting his signature or veto, a spokesperson for the governor said.
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