Bullock joins coalition of governors urging bipartisan fix to health care

A coalition of governors from both sides of the aisle, including Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, are urging leaders in the U.S. Senate to find bipartisan solutions to health care reform and quite “the latest political games and procedural maneuvers.”

The group of state leaders, including four Democrats, five Republicans and one Independent, said in Wednesday’s letter they were concerned that legislation now in play in the House and Senate will take coverage away from millions of Americans, break state budgets and increase premiums.

“As the Senate debates the House-passed American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), we urge you to set aside this flawed bill and work with governors, both Democrats and Republicans, on solutions that will make health care more available and affordable for every American,” the governor’s wrote this week.

The letter was signed by the governors of Montana, Colorado, Nevada, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Virginia, Massachusetts, Ohio and Vermont. Together, they contend that lasting reforms can only be achieved in an open, bipartisan manner.

They also urged the Senate to reject efforts to repeal current health care legislation.

“The Senate should also reject efforts to amend the bill into a ‘skinny repeal,’ which is expected to accelerate health plans leaving the individual market, increase premiums, and result in fewer Americans having access to coverage.

In 2015, Bullock worked with Republican and Democratic legislators to pass the Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership Act to expand Medicaid in Montana.

Since then, Bullock said, nearly 80,000 Montanans have gained access to health care while the number of uninsured dropped from 20 percent to 7 percent in 2016.

“The bill’s Medicaid provisions shift costs to states and fail to provide the necessary resources to ensure that no one is left out, including the working poor or those suffering from mental illness or addiction,” the governor’s wrote of the ACHC.