We recently introduced our Big Sky Health package, which was developed over two years to address our state’s most serious healthcare concerns. Montanans have spoken loud and clear, for years, that they don’t want to accept overreaching federal healthcare programs like Obamacare. Instead, Montanans want a solution that works for our state’s unique population. Our state continues – rightly – to push back on implementing Obamacare, despite strong lobbying from national groups and our Governor. The Governor continues to falsely put a made-in-Montana label on a made-in-DC policy. His way is the lazy way. Simply take orders from Washington and be happy with the “free” money.
It would be similarly lazy to simply refuse all federal money, but that will not get any work done. Instead we worked hard to develop a Montana solution to improve our healthcare system for the greatest number of people by carefully utilizing limited federal funds, while at the same time keeping our state budget and healthcare systems sustainable.
Our Montana-based response to Medicaid expansion is to focus on those populations who are currently falling through the gap. This includes the disabled, low-income parents, and veterans. While the Governor and his Obamacare cheerleaders have insisted on an all-or-nothing approach, voting against our plan would mean the most vulnerable continue to fall through the cracks. Our plan keeps our taxpayer dollars focused on Montana’s most vulnerable.
Washington, DC would like us to believe that their approach is best. They have also told us that expanding Medicaid will increase healthcare employment in our state. This, again, is false
All of the information coming to light nationally only makes it more obvious that a state-based solution is badly needed.
Big Sky Health ensures that our existing programs work efficiently and preserve the safety net for the most vulnerable citizens. We will also demand serious fraud prevention and oversight of social welfare programs.
Big Sky Health involves stepping back and finding innovative solutions for reducing the bureaucracy and red tape that make healthcare services more expensive, while making hospital costs and purchasing decisions more transparent.
Finally, the community mental health section of Big Sky Health funds and improves local mental health services, and has received wide bipartisan support. By serving mental health needs in community facilities instead of statewide institutions, we will cut down on repeat hospitalizations and reduce costs. Both parties came together to show overwhelming support for these initiatives.
Big Sky Health goes a long way in improving Montana’s healthcare system and deserves the serious consideration of the people, Montana’s 64th Legislative body, and the Governor’s signature. Like mental health reform, let’s come together to give our state the Montana healthcare solution they deserve.
Sen. Fred Thomas, Rep. Art Wittich, Rep. Nancy Ballance, Rep. Ron Ehli, Sen. Matt Rosendale, and Sen. Cary Smith