As we are all banding together to weather the COVID-19 crisis in Montana, I am so proud of the way we have supported local businesses, taken social distancing seriously, honored those on the front lines and flattened the curve to protect our most vulnerable Montanans. This is by no means over; we need to stay vigilant and flexible so a resurgence of cases does not undo all our great progress.
However, we need to also be mindful of the next health crisis that could jeopardize the lives of vulnerable populations in our communities – loss of access to health care. Job losses are likely to increase the number of Montanans who need a little help making sure that they and their families do not go without coverage. Those jobs will come back, we will rebound, we are strong and resilient. But we will need some help. Help from our Legislature. We need to send representatives to the Montana House that realize that now is not the time to slash benefits to those among us who need a helping hand. The current system is not perfect, but just as we are recovering from the effects of a viral pandemic we cannot compound the problem by having thousands of our residents lose access to Medicaid and insurance options on the exchange.
We need proven leaders who have a record of balancing fiscal concerns with a belief that all Montanans deserve access to health care. Two such proven leaders are Frank Garner (House District 7) and Bruce Tutvedt (House District 6). Frank Garner has taken care of the health of our citizens in his first three terms in the House, improving mental health services, fighting to lower prescription drug costs and expanding Medicare. He deserves our support for a fourth term. Bruce Tutvedt used his eight years in the Senate to form true coalitions, reaching across whatever aisles and divides necessary to put his constituents’ wellness first. I believe him when he says that he will continue to fight to get the Medicaid and insurance programs right for our low-income neighbors as well as the taxpayer instead of sacrificing the help we can provide for those in need.
In uncertain times we need proven leaders. Proven to care about the health of Montanans. Please consider Frank Garner for HD 7 and Bruce Tutvedt for HD 6 on June 2.
Melissa Hulvat, MD
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