Montana Politics Steve Daines The Media

Why Would Steve Daines Tell The Truth When the Press Won’t Hold Him Accountable?

Writing about a meeting between Senator Steve Daines and the Montana Standard’s editorial board, editor David McCumber opened with this:

Sen. Steve Daines believes that the Affordable Care Act still needs to be repealed and replaced. But in the meantime, he does not support President Donald Trump’s stated plan to sabotage the current healthcare law.

After the Senate failed to pass healthcare reform legislation last month, Trump repeatedly threatened to cut off cost-sharing payments to insurance companies, which lower premium costs.

“I don’t like that,” Daines said. “What’s the matter with that is, people get hurt. We need to solve this problem, not just hope it goes away. It’s not going away.”

Not mentioned there or anywhere in the rest of the article is a rather salient fact: Daines just voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act with no replacement and no regard for the fact that people would almost certainly “get hurt.” Less than a month ago, Daines voted to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, voting for a repeal bill that would have ended the insurance mandate, Medicaid expansion and premium subsidies, a measure that would have, according to the CBO, led to 32 million more uninsured and increase federal deficits by $194 billion.

In voting for that proposal, Daines voted to end the very cost-sharing payments that Trump is threatening to withhold, something that neither he nor the story mention. And as for people getting hurt? Here’s what the CBO said:

Still, the CBO predicts insurers would flee Obamacare markets once the repeal takes effect following a two-year delay, leaving half the nation’s population with no individual coverage options by 2020.

Daines has been talking the same dishonest game since his first bid for Congress, telling Montanans that he will support efforts to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act without ever offering a path to reform that would protect consumers and public health. It’s simply astonishing that the editor of a newspaper would allow him to continue that rhetoric unchallenged while the record clearly demonstrates the truth that Daines will apparently vote for any measure that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, no matter its impact on Montanans, their hospitals, and their communities.

There are certainly other concerns with the piece, like the fact that it doesn’t address Daines’s failure to meet with Montanans in public forums or that it lets Daines take unearned credit for the work Senator Tester has done on veterans’ issues, but I’ll leave those to other readers to dissect.

Giving a Senator a platform from which he can misinform the people of our state and not correcting the record is inexcusably sloppy reporting which goes a long way towards explaining why Montanans just don’t understand what voting for someone like Senator Daines really means.

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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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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