During a typical Steve Daines town hall Monday night–when the Senator dropped a number of calls that managed to get through the screeners to ask difficult questions, there was one very surprising moment: Senator Daines, who has long railed against and voted to gut the Affordable Care Act, admitted that its Medicaid expansion had been good for Montana.
American Bridge flagged Daines’s comments Monday night, when the Senator, when asked directly if he supported Medicaid expansion, said “You know it has. Medicaid expansion has certainly been a way that we have helped reach more Montanans here with health care and we’ll see what the Legislature comes up with, but this has been an important program, certainly, for Montanans” before arguing that it was important particularly for rural Montanans.
It was an astonishing admission from Daines, who has proudly run on his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which expanded Medicaid coverage to almost 100,000 Montanans. It’s also astonishing because just two years ago, Daines was calling to dramatically scale back Medicaid to “its original mission of providing insurance for the “poorest of the poor,” including children, people with disabilities and pregnant women.
Perhaps Daines is coming in line with the newspaper editorials, rural hospitals, health care providers, and economists who have all demonstrated that Medicaid expansion saves lives and improves Montana’s economy. If so, I look forward to his next series of votes in the Senate championing the ACA and protecting the health of his constituents
Or perhaps Daines just said what he thought the caller wanted to hear, with little regard for his own record or the truth.
Montanans should know that Senator Daines has praised Medicaid expansion and the legislators currently working to undermine it or eliminate it should listen.
And, if Daines wasn’t telling the truth on Monday night, doesn’t he owe the people of Montana an explanation for his duplicity? Doesn’t he owe us an in-person town hall to explain whether he really believes in the program?