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.