We Cannot Give Up!  Health Care for All Saves People and Economies

Stethoscope on a printed sheet of paper

In the mid-1800’s a French philosopher wrote, “Every nation gets the government it deserves.”

Yesterday, I spent hours on the phone with Apple Support. I asked my advisor, “Where are you?”

“Georgia,” she said.

“Georgia!” I said. “Have you voted?”

“Now, you’re making me feel bad,” she said. “I forgot.”

“Can you go after work?” I pleaded.

“I don’t know if the polls will still be open,” she said.

I imagine about the time she got off work was when the torrential rains started. I wonder if she’s as heart-broken as me after seeing the election results? Does she know why this special election was so important?

How many hardworking people like her were so busy working and getting by, that they too forgot to vote?

Monday I received a strongly worded email from Senator Tester’s office, pleading with supporters to activate our friends, stand up and help preserve and improve, not repeal Obama Care.

Here are our representatives contact numbers:

Senator Daines: 202-224-2651,

Congressman-elect Gianforte: 202-224-3121, and

Senator Tester: 202-224-2644)

About 80,000 Montanans became eligible for Medicaid when the Montana Legislature passed Medicaid Expansion in 2015. We passed expansion two years late and missed two years of the 100% federal match that started in 2013. That match began slowly sliding down this year.  If the Affordable Care Act is not repealed, the match will be 90% in 2020, still a critically important match for Montana and other expansion states.

Montana included expensive work and training requirements for Medicaid. Monitoring registrations is costly. We could have merely provided more training and scholarship programs so people working low-wage jobs could work toward better jobs. People want better jobs.

Montana’s Medicaid Expansion program sunsets in 2019. Thankfully Montana will receive federal dollars through 2019.  Hospitals and health centers in states that didn’t expand closed. These states were already some of the poorest in the nation and are now much poorer.

What’s in the Republican American Health Care Act?

  • people with pre-existing conditions will lose their insurance and be driven back to costly high risk pools that provide only critical care
  • rates for people 55 to 65 will increase by more than 20%.
  • Medicaid will be cut by $800 billion over ten years not only cutting off the working poor, but denying coverage for seniors and disabled folks who need home health or nursing home care.

Senator Daines editorialized against planning a health care bill in secret. He also said it’s silly for people who make a dollar too much to be cut off Medicaid and have to buy on the exchanges. Sounds like a strong argument for single payer to me.

Single payer is in our future. For now, let’s fight to keep the Affordable Care Act. Let’s activate online, on editorial pages and talk to friends. Let’s win this fight and move on to elect U.S.Congressional representatives who will stand up for us.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Sue Malek

Sue Malek is a second term senator in the Montana legislature. She retired after 24 years managing an academic advising office at UM. She served as president of the UM staff union for two years and chair of the Missoula City Government Study Commission for another two years. Public service is a way of life, she says.

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  • Single payer should be the future. But with the GOP controlling the Presidency and Congress, lower taxes for the rich and whopping health care cuts for the poor and middle class are what we will get. Thanks to the Democratic Party’s deadly dalliance with identity politics, the New Deal and Great Society are being gutted and soon will die. Sen. Tester can vote against the Trump-Ryan-McConnell bill, and most certainly will, and he can help to slow its passage, and might, but neither he nor the rest of the Senate’s Democrats can stop the bill from passing. Neither can the so-called “moderate” Republicans, the fantasy solons that some Democrats and journalists insist, against all evidence, exist.

    Make your telephone calls, send your letters, give Daines and GG hell. That’s good for the soul. But the bill will pass. Trump will sign a conference bill that combines the worst of the Senate and House bills. If you’re poor or a member of the middle class, make sure you don’t get sick — because if you do, you’re on your own. The Democratic Party can’t save you.

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