Governor Steve Bullock announced yesterday that he has succeeded in making sure Montana will finally receive hundreds of millions of our own federal dollars back to insure 70,000 hard-working people.
A majority of states have accepted these funds to extend Medicaid coverage to uninsured working poor citizens, but a few states refused them, including a belt of southern rural Republican states like Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. So Bullock worked with Democrats and Republicans to come up with a bipartisan solution for people who earn less than $16,000 a year, most of whose jobs don’t offer heath care coverage, like construction, food service, ranching, and childcare. Instead of doing this the normal way, Bullock worked with Republicans to come up with a plan that is unique to Montana, a private market solution that encourages personal responsibility – requiring people to pay up to 5% of their incomes with premiums and/or co-payments and providing them with job training opportunities.
The embattled TEA Party front-group Americans for Prosperity, which spent a fortune trying to defeat this during the legislative session only to fail, was totally silent today, with nary a tweet or post criticizing it. Greg Gianforte likewise made no comment about the big news. GOP headquarters spent the day tweeting about how clean power is a bad thing. To be sure, this is about all we can expect from them without any staff or resources, so we’ll thank the GOP and democratic legislators who worked with the Governor to make this a reality on their behalf.
What all of these actors are now grasping, albeit a little late in the game, is that it’s not a winning argument to try to criticize a governor for working with Republicans to accept our own tax money being returned to us from Washington and infusing money into our economy. This is good news for 70,000 Montanans who currently can’t afford healthcare, and also good news for the Bullock reelection team, because it would appear that the Republicans and Gianforte are frozen stiff in their tracks. They won’t, because they can’t, criticize the Health and Economic Livelihood Plan, and thus will another one of Governor Bullock’s signature policy achievements be free and clear of any valid criticism from the Right. People like it when there is a bipartisan plan that’s good for the state’s economy and people. Which is yet another reason Bullock is likely to be re-elected.