Montana Public Radio: MT Senators Say Work Should Continue on Health Care

Montana’s two U.S. Senators disagree with the decision to abandon work on health care to focus on other legislative priorities. 

Tuesday’s announcement comes after yet another failure by the Republican majority to scrap the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.

U.S. Senator Steve Daines, R-MT, has been a vocal supporter of “repeal and replace.”  Still he disagrees with the decision by his party’s leadership to drop health care for now.

“Failure is not an option,” Daines says.

He says a fix is needed because Montanans are being harmed by the increasing premiums and the financial penalty imposed for not complying with the mandate to have health insurance.

Daines recently was among a group of Senators who called on Republican leaders to stay through the traditional August recess and find a solution.

“There’s a lot of work left to do here in Washington,” he says. “I want to keep the pressure on leadership to say let’s keep our sleeves rolled up and let’s keep working.”

U.S. Senator Jon Tester, D-MT, agrees a fix is needed. He remains hopeful a bipartisan group will work together to come up with that solution.

“We need to fix the issues in health care that allows folks to be able to get access to affordable and accessible healthcare in Montana and I think that’s really the bottom line,” Tester says. “Do I think there’s still an appetite to do that? Yeah, but it has to be an inclusive process to be able to work.”

Tester says the Senate should work on a bill in public and hold committee hearings. The former Montana state Senate president adds, however, since Republicans are in control of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate they will decide if a bipartisan compromise is even a possibility.