In an interview with the conservative Washington Examiner published today, Matt Rosendale admitted that if he’s elected to the Senate, he will vote against continuing protections for people with pre-existing conditions:
Rosendale said in an interview with the Washington Examiner that he opposes the federal mandates in Obamacare that force health insurance carriers to cover pre-existing medical conditions and prohibit lifetime caps on payouts, but would find other ways to provide coverage.
There are roughly 152,000 Montanans with pre-existing conditions who could risk losing coverage or having it made unaffordable if Rosendale and the Republicans get their way.
Pulling the mandate that health insurance companies must cover our neighbors with cancer, diabetes, dementia, mental illness, lupus, and a host of other disorders would represent a huge boon to insurance companies but take consumers back to the bad old days when insurance was unaffordable and companies would exploit claims that conditions were pre-existing to reduce their obligation to pay out.
Despite Republican demagoguery and Rosendale’s position on the issue, requiring coverage for these pre-existing conditions is overwhelmingly popular with voters across Montana and the nation, leading Republicans to pivot in the last few weeks of the election to claim they will protect them, even as Republicans across the country are suing to end the ACA provision and Republicans are talking about making another move in Congress against the ACA.
As for Rosendale’s claim that he “would find other ways to provide coverage,” it’s a laughable assertion. Coverage for pre-existing conditions is one of the most expensive elements of the ACA, which rests on the idea that as a society we should share some risks and resources to help those in need. Ending the ACA but leaving the mandate for pre-existing conditions in place simply cannot work—and Republicans like Rosendale have never articulated how such a proposal would be affordable.
In Rosendale’s case, the dishonesty is even more audacious, because as the State’s Insurance Commissioner, he should be able to answer how a Republican-controlled Congress that has been hostile to the pre-existing coverage mandate from its outset would possibly protect Montanans.
When asked by the Billings Gazette, the Associated Press, Montana Public Radio, and the Montana Standard, though, Rosendale had no answer explaining what this legislation would like or how it could pass.
Rosendale and Republicans across the country want voters to believe—despite their inflamed rhetoric, lawsuits, and legislative efforts to end pre-existing condition coverage—that a Republican majority doesn’t represent an enormous threat to Montanans with these conditions and their families. They want voters to ignore what is in plain sight: that Republicans will say whatever it takes to win election and then turn around and put the interests of their corporate masters at the insurance companies ahead of the needs of Montanans.
Rosendale is already beholden to these insurance companies, taking money from their executives to fund his campaign before loosening regulation on them and opening the door for junk insurance in Montana.
Rosendale’s actions as Insurance Commissioner make it clear: if he’s elected to the Senate, he will be a vote to dismantle protections for people with pre-existing conditions. And that’s a future we cannot afford.