If you want to appreciate the failure that marks GOP ideas, consider the latest from Wendy Warburton. This TEA Party Republican has brought back a bill to legalize discrimination in insurance pricing that has previous failed to pass no fewer than 22 times.
This will be the 23rd attempt. What’s new this year is that the insurance industry now has the audacity to get a woman sponsor the discrimination bill–and of course the growing influence of ALEC. ALEC junketer Wendy Warburton is carrying the bill at the behest of Big Insurance – the industry that spent more than any other on lobbying during the last legislative session. HB 600 would allow insurance companies to base rates on gender rather than driving records–discrimination which the Montana Constitution specifically prohibits.
The Montana Constitution (Article II, § 4) expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, creed, religion, color, sex, physical or mental disability, age, or national origin.
The GOP also see this bill as a way to continue their War on Women, in which Wendy Warburton is a leading soldier. When asked why there weren’t more Republican women running for office, Warburton said, “the biggest reason that more women who are Republicans don’t get into politics is because we are the pro-family party.” Yes, GOP ladies are home raising kids like the women of the pro-family party should be.
Republicans want to allow the discrimination because they say they have “actuarial data” that shows differences between the sexes that insurance companies want to use that as an excuse to raise rates on half the population.
It’s also important to note that Big Insurance has these stats for people based on race too, but we don’t see them asking for a bill to allow racial discrimination–at least not yet. Perhaps ALEC will put out a model bill.
Other ALEC bills this session include:
HB 280 by Rep. Cary Smith “authorize choice for out-of-state health insurance.” (Bill allows insurance companies to avoid Montana consumer protections by off-shoring an office in another state.)
HB 191 by Nancy Ballance – another interstate health care compact bill, this one has somehow died
SB 253 by Janna Taylor Fake “regulation” designed to bog, sap resources and disempower unions.
SB 219 by Janna Taylor, Gut the free association and speech rights of public employees and unions
LC 2065 by Joanne Blyton Referendum to gut public employee unions.
I have it on good authority that HJ 20 by Roger Webb is actually drafted through a collaborative effort of health care professionals and providers in Yellowstone County and is not the product of ALEC.