Opinion

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Uncommon Ground

Redistributing Montana’s Health Care

Congress cooked up yet another way to repeal consumer health insurance protections, targeting preexisting conditions

They’re at it again; they just can’t seem to help themselves.

No, I’m not referring to the out-of-area cyber terrorists who again targeted Flathead Valley kids and parents with digital threats.

Earlier this year, it was the white supremacists targeting kids and parents in Whitefish. Now the cyber terrorist targeted Flathead schools. They breached the network of data stored on public computers, closing schools for days, and forced administrators to rethink network security.

It’s a mess. It left little room to think about other stuff. That’s the point. But the Flathead needed rain, snow and an end to wildfire season. Not this.

The local police proved effective and acted with grace. These fine public servants like our schoolteachers do a great job at protecting and serving their local community. It’s work that matters.

The knuckleheads I’m referring to, who can’t help themselves, work in Washington, D.C. That’s right, Congress.

Congress cooked up yet another way to repeal consumer health insurance protections, targeting preexisting conditions. It has until the end of the month to act before time expires on the archaic rules that allow simple majority votes in the Senate to defund healthcare for rural states like Montana.

It makes no sense. Instead of fixing the current health care law, Congress is again busy trying to defund it. The last go around, Montana Sen. Steve Daines voted for every failed floor proposal that cut health care funding to Montana.

Clearly Daines and Republicans like him are of little help when it comes to rural health care funding.

Today Congress is pushing to cut funds for states like Montana by $1 billon. That cuts kids’ healthcare funding by over 30 percent moving forward.

Republicans are all about local control. I get it. It’s good. As somehow Montana could put together a functional health care system by itself with a billion fewer federal health care dollars. It’s just nonsense, and everyone knows it.

Montana is currently facing our own budget crisis and statewide services like education and health and human services are currently being slashed.

Republicans who control Congress propose to take that $1 billion of healthcare funding set aside for the people of Montana and give it to South Dakota.

Yes, you read that right. Montana stands to lose $1 billion worth of federal healthcare funds from 2020 to 2027 and those dollars would be redistributed to South Dakota.

I don’t quite know what state Daines thinks he represents in Washington, D.C., but I know it’s not South Dakota, or even Texas, which gains a whopping $24 billion in federal healthcare funds.

My partisan friends aren’t likely to believe me any more that they would Gov. Steve Bullock who previously signed onto a bipartisan governors’ letter opposing the most recent partisan healthcare assault.

Republican governors from states like Ohio, Nevada and Alaska all oppose this latest health care-defunding scheme.

Republican governor Chris Sununu said, “It is not practical for New Hampshire to craft a system with over $1 billion in cuts to federal funding.”

Give us a rest Congress. It’s exhausting.

Across the nation people are dealing with floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires while Congress just wants to take away health care from 100,000 Montanans.

What’s wrong with you people? Just fix the existing health care law. Stop trying to defund states.

Fall is here and it looks as extreme as the other seasons this year. From the big snow of winter to the bigger rains of spring to the biggest drought of summer, fall weather won’t disappoint.

Local communities have more pressing issues we need to address beyond federal health care funding, like how to fund new digital firewalls at schools across Montana and better pay our police to protect our kids and community from cyber terrorists.

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