Dave Lewis, Happy, Healthy and Wise (and a socialist)

While many of us were away on summer vacation, Montana Public Radio did a short piece on Montana’s state employee health clinic.

For those of you that are not familiar with it, Montana took the step, about a year ago, of hiring a half dozen or so doctors and technicians to provide basic medical care, in-house, to state employees who want it.  It’s done at a substantial savings to the state, because the state would otherwise have to pay medial bills at a retail rate–to doctors, who charge, say $500 to shine a light up your nose when you have a sinus infection, or to the hospital, where a single aspirin or vitamin costs $50 and where the more tests and procedures which are performed, the more thousands of dollars the hospital rakes in.  The Department of Administration says that the clinic has already the saved the state $1.5 million.  And the quality of care is excellent and state employees seem to like the clinic a lot.

What is most delicious about the NPR story, however, is that GOP Senator Dave Lewis is revealed to be a regular and satisfied customer of the clinic.  He says he loves it.

Lewis, as it happens, was one of the most vocal opponents when Schweitzer proposed the state clinic idea.  Lewis’s GOP gang described the clinic alternatively as “socialized medicine,” “too expensive,” “Obamacare for state employees,” and also tried to block the clinic legislatively.  The headline in April of 2012 was “GOP Legislative Leaders Want to Block Schweitzer’s Health Clinic for State Employees.”

And Lewis–yes, Lewis–was the lead sponsor of the bill.  It was vetoed by Governor Bullock.

Since Dave is an occasional Cowgirl Commenter, I, for one, and happy to know that he is in such fine health as a result of his visits to the clinic.

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20 Comments on "Dave Lewis, Happy, Healthy and Wise (and a socialist)"

  1. next time he goes there, they should give him a prostate exam.

  2. Why not spread the wealth? Dave knows a good thing when he sees it. It has been proven a successful idea. Right now, only state employees are eligible to use the clinic. What if clinics are established for all citizens? Pay an annual fee (like state employees do) and get clinic services as a member. Just like how credit unions started.

  3. It is an economically viable decision on my part to use the clinic. It has no out of pocket cost. It is subsidized out of the state employee health plan which spends about $350 million a year. My bill would have opened the books and required an appropriation. I want to know the true cost of the free clinic. The Governor vetoed the bill. I will use a free service but want to know the real cost. I wish the Governor did as well.

    • Dave, It is not a free service, I pay for it!
      I pay for the Socialist Healthcare that every Republican legislator accepted and enjoys. I wish you guys were not so greedy and would allow the regular working stiff have Socialized Healthcare like every other civilized country in the world. Because it is right and it works. Israel, Australia, Germany, Canada, Netherlands, France, England, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Austria, etc. have made Socialized Healthcare work very well, some for over 100 years. As a matter of fact today our health care system has fallen behind every one of the above in almost every single category. Our waiting time to see a specialist (only for those who can afford insurance of course) is triple that of Canada now! Longer waits, less service, higher prices, higher mortality rates, sick uninsured people, our system is broke and the “Free Market” is never going to fix it. It’s the true conspiracy that Infowars, FOX, or Rush does not want anyone to know about. Enjoy your Socialist healthcare that my hard earned dollars pay for. I pray some day we will all have it.

      • Not every Republican legislator accepts the state’s health insurance plan, or retirement plan for that matter. You’re running on bad info.

        • You mean there are some legislators that get their health care paid for by someone else like their job or their spouse’s job or their trust funds and so they don’t have the state insurance program? Is there some kind of award we can give these paragons of virtue and moral strength?

        • Two Dems and Five Repubs declined any Government Subsidies for health care. Can you name them?

    • Dave, just do us all a favor and crawl back under the rock that you came from and die….save us all a chunk of change. Take some of your batcrap crazy tea partiers with you.

    • Dave-thats hogwash. There is no outlay of money made by the executive branch that is not available for the legislature to inspect, including the clinic. The executive branch pays medical bills for all state employees, and discovered that cost could be lowered, with quality of medical care raised, by doing an in-house clinic. The legislature is neither here nor there.

    • A really old time RN | September 12, 2013 8:07 PM at 8:07 PM |

      I am a state of MT employee, lucky enough to work in Helena and have utilized Care Here several times. Although the Value of this exceptional patient centered service is yet to be totaled, my experience has been:
      – Easy on line scheduling
      – Internet access to medical records, lab results- secure and password protected
      – punctual appointments 1/h hr appointment vs 2-3 hr wait time
      – increased state worker productivity related to shorter appointment times and efficient well managed scheduling and clinic opperations.
      – no distraction of 3 rd party payers – care is provided within medical policy guidelines of the State of Montana by an organization that understands utilization guidelines!
      – A provider who bases Medical decisions in partnership with the patient and is focused on providing the right level of care at the right time.
      – Health Coaching to support the medical and lifestyle choices to promote HEALTH AND WELLNESS!

      AND at no out of pocket cost to the employees or their dependants.

      I can go on and on….
      The aggregate reporting will show that Care Here will save the State of Montana …I know that It saves this healthy 60 year old nurse cash and works to keep me productive and well.!

      OBAMACARE just might be on to something.

  4. Dave does not work full time for $10-12/hour. He basically would screw those who don’t have employer-provided health insurance. He’s basically saying, “I’m in – slam that door closed.”

  5. “Real cost?” Even the insured don’t pay the “real cost.” No one knows what that is. No one. What does your doc get paid? How much did the instruments for treatment cost? How much for the hospital or operating room? How many nurses? What were they paid? How much for maintenance and administrative staff? How much does is lost productivity due to medical issues such as a hernia operation or some other postponed treatment or surgery? You are right, Dave, the real cost should be calculated. But that costs money, too. But we should get on it. What does an uncomplicated inguinal hernia operation cost in this state?

    • Actually, the article written in Time Magazine “The Bitter Pill” did a good job of exposing the actual cost of health care in the US. It is a long article but a good read.

      • Yes, It was a very good article. It is unfortunate that the general populace doesn’t read anything other than twitter comments or how well liked that they are on facebook. Otherwise, there would have been an uproar over how badly we have been getting screwed by piss poor legislation and oversight of one of our biggest industries that has been ripping off the average joe for years. How very sad.

  6. So this repub is complaining that other people are getting health care benefits in exchange for working a full time job that he himself is getting for not working – just being a part time legislator and only working 90 days a year!!! And he gets free healthcare for 2 years!!

    • Not quite. It goes like this: if you want health care, you shouldn’t work a job that doesn’t offer it, you could pay for your own, or, finally, you could just plain go without – and good luck. Want Dave’s healthcare? Get elected to the legislature and enjoy a whole load of lifetime freebies (free insurance is just one of them).

  7. I always ask my tea bagger friends how the manufacturing sector in this country can compete globally when they have to figure the cost of health care into their product.
    I have never received an answer.

  8. Dave Lewis exemplifies the hypocrisy most tea party/republican legislators show! Glad to see him go!

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