Legislators on Committee Who Blocked Medicaid for Montanans ALL Take Government-Funded Health Insurance

hypocrisy meterThe members of the House Human Services Committee who used a rules bait and switch trick  to block health care for 70,000 working poor Montanans paid for by the federal government each willingly except two years of health care paid for by us the taxpayers.

It’s a point that’s was made both by Governor Bullock  in his state of the union speech and by that the Billings Gazette editorial made this past week in their support of Governor Bullock’s Medicaid expansion was that Montana taxpayers spend $887 per month on health insurance premiums for each state employee and for each of the 150 lawmakers who choose to be on the state health plan.  You can see the entire list here. “Waived opt 2” means they accept a cash stipend (paid for by you and me) to pay the bill for the insurance they get through their job, spouse, or parents.

Rep. Stephanie Hess, Rep. Lawrence Redfield, Rep. Art Wittich, Rep. Kirk Wagoner, Rep. Doane, Rep. Bill Harris, Rep. Forrest Mandeville and Rep. Vince Ricci all accept it and are Republicans on House Human Services committee who voted “do not pass” on HB 249 on Friday, March 6th. Rep. Seth Berglee and  Rep. Al Olszewski accepted the cash stipend from the state and voted “do not pass”.  So all of the legislators (all are Republicans) on the committee that voted against the Healthy Montana Plan accept Montana taxpayer funded health insurance.

Attached is the 2015 list of legislators who are on  Montana taxpayer funded healthcare.  You can download a PDF list here to see if your legislator is on it: 2015 Legislators Benefits and PERS FOR MT PUBLIC.

You’ll note that also on the list are Nancy Ballance, who claimed that adults who don’t have a disability with no children living at home (like herself) should not get government-funded health coverage with her HB 455.  And Fred Thomas, chair of the Senate Public Health Committee.  And Cary Smith, who is sponsoring Senate Bill 148 which he claims will “reform” Medicaid (which to him simply means kicking tens of thousands of people out.)  Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen is on it–so is Senate President Debby Barrett. And readers of this blog (and anyone who has been on the internet ever) know that the Americans for the Prosperity of the Koch Brothers front man Joe Balyeat took taxpayer funded healthcare when he was in the legislature.

Isn’t it interesting that we never hear them complaining about how much their insurance costs the taxpayer, how it will “crowd out” services for people with disabilities, how it will harm funding for schools and roads, how much their insurance will cost us 10 or 55 years from now, or other such nonsense.

 

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20 Comments on "Legislators on Committee Who Blocked Medicaid for Montanans ALL Take Government-Funded Health Insurance"

  1. I don’t understand the “Waived Option 2” category. How do legislators get their money for health insurance? How much do they receive? From what fund are they paid?

    • I believe they get a check and they can use that money to pay for the insurance through their spouse’s or parent’s work or whatever or through their own employer or business etc. It’s over $800 and it comes from the state coffers. Don’t know the specific fund. Perhaps someone will correct me if this is wrong.

      • does this policy insure them for a whole year? or just during the session? is this double dipping? JUST a question. so, if these people receive work-paid insurance or Medicare, is this a puff piece of extra cash? just another question.

  2. Wouldn’t the Republican response be, “Yeah, but I earn it?” Look, I’m a Libtard, make no mistake about that. But, is this a false equivalency? As I understand the GOP position they object to handouts and contributing to the Federal Expenditures. So the rationale would go something like this, ‘We won’t give insurance to non-working people or people who should just go out and get better jobs, but I’m entitled to this insurance because I have a good job and work hard.”

  3. This partisan bickering underscores the need for a universal, single-payer health care system. Some states cover all adults below a certain income level. Others leave huge gaps in coverage. Coverage and costs vary from state to state. Some state Medicaid programs pay for care directly, while others use private insurance. Rival political “gangs” duking it out state-by-state will never solve this problem and cause delay of the inevitable solution adopted by every country but ours.

    • Steve, the VA is essentially a single payer system that fails. Why have a national system based on that failure.

      • Define “fails.” Would it be better to have vets uninsured and underinsured in a system like the ACA? How about Medicare? Do you not like that either?

      • Actually, the VA is a nationalized system. The government owns the hospitals and other facilities as well has the doctors. So, it would be better to compare it to the system in Great Britain.

        Single payer resembles Medicare.

        • Both systems are single payer. The VA system is also single provider, public, as in the UK’s Beveridge system. Medicare is federal single payer, private multiple provider.

          Ultimately, the people are the payers. Economically, the most efficient system is federal single payer financed by progressive taxation. That cuts out the middlemen — aka health insurance companies — who take 10–20 percent of the cut.

      • I am quite happy with my current treatment at the VA. What do you base your “failure” conclusion on? Healthcare outcomes are superior to any private system in operation by a large margin and the cost is about 20% lower.

      • My husband has VA health care. It is far from “failing.”

        It may take a while to get approval from the VA for procedures, but it is far superior to my health care plan, which is known as the “Pay or Die” system.

        Medicare for All!!

  4. Old Line Democrat | March 16, 2015 11:31 AM at 11:31 AM |

    Heaven forbid that these Red Repubs. acknowledge the fact that the State Contribution that they get for health insurance coverage is negotiated on their behalf by the unions working with the State. This benefit is extremely expensive given the number of people covered and the economic steps like the employee clinics, wellness, drug programs etc. that have been initiated.

    This of course is because our insurance dollars go to subsidize those uninsured who use ER’s as their primary health care.

    These guys refuse to take federal money to insure that more of our local state money is spent on health care.

    These folks simply refuse to accept the economics of the situation. Obama Derangement Syndrome apparently has no cure.

  5. LUKE 40:46 – those in power, who make long speeches (like Wittich) and want who want attention, will be judged MUCH more severely when they meet their maker, if they go ‘yonder’….the books of Job, Isaiah, and new Testament very instructive on helping the alien (yes, that’s the word), caring for the sick, the poor, etc.

    These GOP legislators have the nerve to invoke God daily when convening the legislature then go right on OPPRESSING the working poor (Isaiah 10:3). This crew of teabaggers can’t even remember the ‘Golden Rule’ and Crist’s simple teachings.

    • The Bible verses GO double for Balyeat, funded by the Koch boyz, and I read one of the brothers support gay marriage effort in legislation, so where’s the grassroots outrage about that if the ‘rank and file’ teabaggers and evangelicals are so wound up?

  6. Whooooa … Wait a minute. The way I get this is that our legislators, regardless of which party they represent, each get health insurance coverage funded by Montana taxpayers. They have two basic options; (1) enroll for health care under the Montana insurance plan that covers all state employees, or (2) elect to receive an equivalent amount to help pay for their own personal policy. I am assuming this coverage is available during the session and not the entire time they serve. Perhaps you can clarify that for me. I don’t see a single name on the list—Republican or Democrat—who elected neither! Am I missing something here?

  7. All the Biblical references in the comments made me think of the Bob Marley song ‘Mark of the Beast’.
    I think it fits the MT GOP legislators quite well:
    “I see the mark of the beast on their ugly faces
    I see them congregating in evil places
    I said I know they are wicked
    What have I done to be incriminated
    What have I done to be humiliated
    I said i know they are wicked
    They make pledges to destroy even their mothers
    So you can imagine what they would do to my brother
    I said I know they are wicked
    What have I done to be convicted
    What have I got to be coveted
    I said I know they are wicked
    I am so careful of them smiling faces
    ‘Cause underneath them are evil traces
    I said I know they are wicked….”

  8. I’ll call your Bob with some John K from 1969:
    Once the religious, the hunted and weary
    Chasing the promise of freedom and hope
    Came to this country to build a new vision
    Far from the reaches of kingdom and pope

    Like good Christians some would burn the witches
    Later some got slaves to gather riches

    But still from near and far to seek America
    They came by thousands, to court the wild
    But she just patiently smiled, and bore them a child
    To be their spirit, and guiding light

    And once the ties with the crown had been broken
    Westward in saddle and wagon they went
    And till the railroad linked ocean to ocean
    Many the lives which had come to an end

    While we bullied, stole and bought our a homeland
    We began the slaughter of the red man

    But still from near and far to seek America
    They came by thousands, to court the wild
    But she just patiently smiled, and bore them a child
    To be their spirit, and guiding light

    The blue and gray they stomped it
    They kicked it just like a dog
    And when the war was over
    They stuffed it just like a hog

    And though the past has it’s share of injustice
    Kind was the spirit in many a way
    But it’s protectors and friends have been sleeping
    Now it’s a monster and will not obey

    Suicide
    The spirit was freedom and justice
    And it’s keepers seemed generous and kind
    It’s leaders were supposed to serve the country
    But now they won’t, pay it no mind

    ‘Cause the people grew fat and got lazy
    Now their vote is a meaningless joke
    They babble about law and order
    But it’s all just an echo of what they’ve been told

    Yeah, there’s a monster on the loose
    It’s got our heads into the noose
    And it just sits there watchin’

    The cities have turned into jungles
    And corruption is stranglin’ the land
    The police force is watching the people
    And the people just can’t understand

    We don’t know how to mind our own business
    ‘Cause the whole world’s got to be just like us
    Now we are fighting a war over there
    No matter who’s the winner, we can’t pay the cost

    ‘Cause there’s a monster on the loose
    It’s got our heads into the noose
    And it just sits there, watching

    America
    America, where are you now?
    Don’t you care about your sons and daughters?
    Don’t you know, we need you now
    We can’t fight alone against the monster

    America, where are you now?
    Don’t you care about your sons and daughters?
    Don’t you know, we need you now
    We can’t fight alone against the monster

    America, where are you now?
    Don’t you care about your sons and daughters?
    Don’t you know, we need you now
    We can’t fight alone against the monster

    America, where are you now?
    Don’t you care about your sons and daughters?
    Don’t you know, we need you now
    We can’t fight alone against the monster

    America, where are you now?
    Don’t you care about your sons and daughters?
    Don’t you know, we need you now
    We can’t fight alone against the monster

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