Montana will insure 70,000 new hard-working citizens; TEA Party swallows hard

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.

People can apply online at healthcare.gov  or find out more at CoverMT.org

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31 Comments on "Montana will insure 70,000 new hard-working citizens; TEA Party swallows hard"

  1. A great day for Montana and a great day for Governor Bullock!

  2. You can be sure there’ll be ‘teabaggers and birthers’ in the ranks of the new Medicaid eligible citizens while they keep vilifying President Obama and Governor Bullock. I wish Anonymous would expose that ‘teabag’ hypocrisy.

  3. Well, I guess all you democrats can rejoice in taking all of us folks who are in the 100-138% of federal poverty level’s private health insurance away. Not only am I and my wife going to lose our Montana Health Coop private insurance policy and get slammed into Medicaid, the Coop is going to lose thousands of customers to the Medicaid slamming.

    And not only am I losing my Montana Health Coop insurance policy, I’m losing my doctor, as he isn’t accepting any new Medicaid patients, and isn’t going to let patients convert from private pay to Medicaid.

    So, let me be succinct, not only did Obama and democrats say with Obamacare that if you like your health insurance, and like your doctor you can keep them. Bullsh*t. I just lost both. So keep patting yourselves on the back democrats. Ya done well… again.

    • I’m pretty sure that if you have been paying for your own private health insurance up until now you can continue doing the same. If you don’t switch to Medicaid and don’t take the federal subsidies you can keep your current health insurance and your current doctor.

      • Yeah I (and about 10,000 other Montanans in the same boat as I) could keep buying unsubsidized policies on the Exchange, and without the subsidy given to those in the 100-138% of FPL, my private policy price will increase by $643/month. From the current subsidized $20/month policy. What’s that, about a 3,000% increase?

        So, Mr. Curtis, at about %100 of FPL, my premium would be over 50% of my total income. Ooooh, so affordable!! And my deductible and out of pocket expenses would increase to $6,000. So, one little accident, and it’s eaten up 100% of my yearly income. Homelessness here I come!

        You guys suck.

    • The coop is just now paying for January of 2014. When St. Pete’s submitted June 2014 bill to coop it was returned saying my husband had not been approved for insurance yet. What a scam!!! They don’t know what the hell they’re doing. You’re better off with Medicaid.

    • Guess maybe you’d better blame MT Republicans, they worked on this too.

  4. Thanks for writing this!

  5. I think anonymous should talk with others who have been blessed with Our Governor Bullocks decision . And I would also be TROUBLED by a doctor who they helped SUPPORT with their former Insurance Company, who would DUMP them because of a Bipartisan decision from Montana’s court. Could it be a small decrease in fee’s and a additional paper work his office personal may experience? What happened to the Hippocratic Oath he/she took ? [ If this is the case]

    • Vifginia, about 10,000 “hard working Montanans” are going to lose their private insurance that was subsidized and purchased on the Exchange. They, like me, will discover when they go to renew their current private health insurance policy that they cannot do so and will have to reapply for Medicaid with the state. Ever seen a state Medicaid application? I just spent two hours wrangling with one. It is degrading and impossible to fill out, unlike the Exchange application.

      Most likely I will not be able to satisfactorily complete it, as I am self-employed and do not have the documentation they require. So I will lose my private insurance, go uninsured and just pay the damn penalty and be in the same boat I was in two years ago — one accident away from homelessness and the price of the penalty poorer. In a few years I’ll be eligible for Medicare. Maybe then I can get healthcare for all the crap that happens to the elderly when they can’t get access to regular health care, like all of you fucking liberal, moralizing DEMOCRATS have!!!!

      • The “moralizing” R party slashed away 1/2 of COOP funding, wages war against single payer, while leveraging subsidies forever to pharma and med suppliers and “insurance” companies.

        To get beyond current mediated ‘healthcare’ news, check out quality journalism at:

        http://m.democracynow.org/stories/15645

    • “anonymous” is confused- people will save money by switching to Medicaid from a healthcare.gov subsidized plan- and they will save big- even with the small monthly premiums and copayments.

  6. Anonymous, before you trumpet the whoa’s of the HELPact you should try reading what the law actually does. There will be no “medicaid slamming.” Thats was the point of using a 3rd party admin. The insurance gap population will receive a Blue Cross card like every other Blue Cross member. So that great doctor you have who doesn’t serve medicaid clients will never be wise to your new, more affordable health insurance. FYI: When making up a fictional anonymous story to fit your narrative you should at least attempt to understand the issue.

    • Not a fictional story, Butte Gal. We’ll just have to wait and see what BCBS works up. As with any private insurance plan, when you make an appt. or show up at the check-in desk, you reveal your insurance plan. The BCBS Medicaid plan will be as individual and identifiable as any other insurance plan. And it will have a separate provider network from other BCBS plans. So until BCBS reveals their provider network, and each provider reveals it’s relationship to BCBS and new clients, you don’t know Jack, Butte Gal. Just like everybody else.

      What is incontrovertible (big word for a poor person, I know) is that when I went to the Exchange today, I couldn’t renew my Mt Health Coop policy, instead was told that I was eligible to apply for Medicaid with the state. How that all happens is just one big mystery.

      • This person is just making things up! How ridiculous. Troll.

        • Really? A troll? I think not. He makes sound arguments, for I have seen similar things.

          But the elephant in the room that no one here is talking about is just how many of those newly minted Medicaid recipients are newly arrived in Montana? I wish that Mary Moe would investigate this a bit. For you see, the folks I know in social services deal with a huge number of out of staters moving to Montana and draining our resources. And of course this is the logical conclusion of the lack of a comprehensive national plan to deal with health care. Folks with all kinds of medical problems are moving to Montana because they get basically free coverage, and because the places that they are moving from are so screwed up. I know. I deal with these people on a daily basis. This is NOT any sort of economic development in my book. I cannot understand why this is not being discussed, for it cannot go on forever. Resources are not limitless either at the state or federal level. And now, we have to provide them with job training? What’s wrong with this picture? Plenty.

          So, before you go calling them uninsured hardworking “Montanans”, ask them for a brief history. And the really ironic thing is that nearly all of these newcomers vote straight Tea Party.

          But let’s discuss peripheral things like what great people we are. It’s so much easier to pat yourself on the back and ignore the realities.

          • Anything less than a national plan is nothing at all……unless of course you like subsidizing the insurance industry.

            http://smirkingchimp.com/thread/donna-smith/64601/our-nation-needs-this-balm-as-single-payer-action-surges-forward

          • I’m sorry but you’re claiming that because MT, just like 30 other states, passed Medicaid expansion, that they are going to move here to “drain our resources”?! Bwhahahahaha!

            • Well, before you laugh at me, do you even anyone know who works in the social services? I thought not. Again, I work with these people on a daily basis, and I talk to them. The main reason they move to Montana? Good health care and the places they left were hell holes. Now, how many of these refugees, yes, refugees, are you willing to pay for? Do you even KNOW how much it costs to keep a dialysis patient alive? Answer. Four hundred thousand dollars a year. And now, we have to provide them with job training!

              Look, bottom line. NO one helped me get ahead. I did it through my own blood, sweat and tears. Why should I provide for every out of state ne’er do well that comes along? I’m in total agreement with the Tea Party on this one. What the hell do I owe some out of state loser? Nothing I’d say. Glad to see that you Dems are so generous with MY tax dollars.

              • Once again, where is Ms. Moe? I want to know just what she knows! Is that asking too much? She’s a good researcher and former nurse I think. Would she please honest enough to respond to my question? Or is she just like the last Republican debate. She only takes questions from the like minded. HOW many of these so called Montanans are from Montana?

                I await your cogent response, Ms. Moe. Respectfully of course, as always.

  7. The confusion over Montana’s mutant expanded Medicaid system is an indictment of both the Buttrey-Bullock Act and the Affordable Care Act. Yes, compared to what came before, both are improvements. But both are hideously and gratuitously complicated. Compared to an everyone covered for everything national single-payer system financed by progressive federal taxation, they are an abomination. Why do we have this abomination? Because Republicans won’t vote for any kind of national health care, and because Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Democrats who have sold out to the private health insurance industry, oppose single-payer health care.

    Buttrey’s bill, incidentally, was designed to help hospitals and insurance companies. Insuring some people is just a trickle-effect.

  8. Insurance Companies who are raising rates and lowering benefits seem to have become hostile and are engaging in antagonistic behavior against their clients. Is it because they can’t stop PPACA? Why aren’t people upset with them instead of our Governor? Their greed is so obvious.

  9. Montana single-payer advocates begged Max Baucus for a seat at the table and got nowhere. The Republicans would not participate in healthcare initiatives, saying “no” to everything. I’m surprised we have what we have today. We could have had a much simpler system that would have served us much better had the naysayers had the capacity to see what we could do together, for ourselves our families and all. Holding someone’s health hostage for money is evil. The haters and the naysayers can call it socialism, label it as they want, but single-payer would have been so simple and easy. Nonetheless, the drug companies and the insurance companies won the day, and Max went to China.

  10. I have a better idea too Anon. Medicare Type E. AKA single payer not for-profit healthcare.

  11. Anonymous, now you know how the more than 70,000 Montanans feel when insurance policies before Obamacare failed them -they too were degraded, denied, frustrated, and left untreated. All you have to do is get another policy or pay more for the one you like and you are whining about that when thousands of Montanans had NO insurance at all before Obamacare. You are a selfish whiner -get over it – do your homework and get an affordable plan they are there even for the likes of you -its called democracy!

  12. I don’t like pen names and false identification in use here, and I wish Cowgirl would ban them. People can hide behind these pseudonyms and spew malarkey ad infinitum, ad nauseam and get away with it. I know there is the “tip” factor at play, but that can be a ruse, too. In the past two years, I have received only two phone calls on my personal phone from belligerents, both men, who wanted to bash me for my opinions. I dismissed them easily, without fear of further intrusion. It’s against the law to bully, threaten or even mildly harass another on the phone, and most aggressive people know that. You can always have the police explain it to them if they don’t.

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