The 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.