How has your health insurance affected you and your family over the last decade? Is your insurance premium more affordable? Do you feel as though you’re receiving better care than you were nine years ago?
Between 2015 and 2017, under Obamacare, premiums increased by an average of 170% for some Montanans. Deductibles, the amount a person has to pay before health insurance will kick in, went up as well. Under Obamacare, some insurance companies decided it simply wasn’t worth it to provide care in Montana, leaving our state with only three insurance providers. Access to care got so bad that in 2015 the state Legislature passed a law limiting how far a person can be from a provider, and the length of time a patient can wait for an appointment. We had to pass more laws to make it so a law that was supposed to provide health care to everyone actually made that possible.
For many Montanans, working to support families, put food on the table and possibly save for retirement, Obamacare hasn’t made our lives better. That’s why President Trump came out in support of an effort currently underway in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to repeal Obamacare, and why 19 Republican state attorneys general across the country support the same. Our state’s attorney general isn’t among them. In fact, Attorney General Tim Fox and his deputy, Jon Bennion, have sided with 17 Democrat state attorneys general to oppose President Trump and are working to save Obamacare in the courts.
It’s concerning that Fox would come out so strongly in support of Obamacare now, when in 2012 and 2016 he campaigned on the need to repeal the law. Now that Attorney General Fox is a candidate for governor and his deputy Jon Bennion is running for attorney general, they seem to have concluded their political aspirations will be better served by reversing course and supporting Obamacare.
Obamacare has been an absolute train wreck for our state since it passed, leading to higher premiums and fewer health choices for many Montanans. We need leaders who can stand up to bad policy and support the people of this state, not politicians who take whatever position they believe will help them most in their next election.
Austin Knudsen is the former Speaker of the Montana House of Representatives and currently serves as the Roosevelt County Attorney.