Veto sparks angry response from insurance commissioner

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By: Phil Drake

Gov. Steve Bullock came under fire Tuesday from the state’s Securities and Insurance commissioner for vetoing a bill that touted it would “generally revise health care laws” and help provide coverage for high-risk people.

The action brought a swift rebuke that the governor was hanging “vulnerable Montanans out to dry.” The governor said the bill would give the state insurance commissioner too much power.

Commissioner Matt Rosendale issued a news release Tuesday criticizing the governor’s veto decision, which he then followed on social media tweeting more criticism of Bullock.

Rosendale, a Republican, said the health insurance market is incredibly unstable and Montanans likely face even higher insurance rates and the bill could have helped the state handle this.
“The governor has sacrificed good, bipartisan policy in favor of bad, partisan politics,” he stated.

The bill states it would provide health care and insurance coverage to high-risk people who cannot get comprehensive insurance coverage by using a reinsurance program or high-risk pool.

Rosendale said HB 652, sponsored by Rep. Rob Cook, R-Conrad, would have allowed his office to pursue a waiver from the federal government to create a made-in-Montana reinsurance program or another way to stabilize the health insurance marketplace and reduce the cost of health insurance.

He said it was allowed under the Affordable Care Act, noting a waiver also could be pursued in the event of a repeal or change to the act commonly called “Obamacare” at the federal level.

Read more at the Great Falls Tribune