Following eight health care listening sessions in Montana, Senator Jon Tester today outlined the devastating impacts that repealing the Affordable Care Act will have on families across the state. Tester took to the Senate floor and urged members of Congress to work together on a bipartisan effort to increase access to health insurance and lower the cost of health care.
Tester shared personal stories and relayed messages from his recent health care listening session tour across Montana, where he has heard from patients and health care providers who are facing uncertainty because of Congressional plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement health care plan.
“The folks in Congress who are pushing to repeal without a replacement will kick families off of their health insurance, close down rural hospitals and clinics, and add nine trillion dollars to our debt,” Tester said. “Rather than go down this dangerous path, let’s roll up our sleeves and work on a bipartisan solution that will increase access to insurance, bring down the cost of care, and lower prescription drug prices.”
Tester underscored that repealing the Affordable Care Act could cost Community Health Centers 70 percent of the federal funding they receive to administer care in rural communities, which could force families to travel long distances for regular check-ups or emergency care. Community Health Centers serve over 100,000 Montanans ever year.
Tester then added that repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement will take patients back to the old health care system that allowed health insurance companies to deny coverage due to a pre-existing condition and kick people off of their health insurance plan after reaching an arbitrary lifetime cap.
“I am willing to work with anyone – Republican, Democrat, or Independent – who wants to have a serious conversation about improving our nation’s health care system,” Tester added. “But I won’t allow folks in this body to take us back to the old days—the days where our friends and family couldn’t afford to get sick.”
Tester additionally outlined the impact repealing the Affordable Care Act will have across Montana.
“Here is what that will look like in Montana,” Tester said. “152,000 Montanans with pre-existing conditions will be at risk of losing their health insurance, 61,000 Montanans enrolled in Medicaid will lose coverage, Montana seniors will lose help paying for their prescription drugs, and women will lose important protections that prevent them from being charged more for coverage than men.”
The Senator then highlighted the devastating impacts on the debt and deficit stating that repealing the ACA without a replacement plan will add $350 billion to the deficit over the next ten years. And the budget resolution that the Senate is debating to pave the way for repeal, will saddle the next generation with an additional $9 trillion in debt over the next decade.
During his health care listening session tour, Tester has visited eight Montana communities, and will continue his tour in the coming weeks.
Montanans who would like to share their personal Affordable Care Act story are able to do so through a portal on Tester’s website. To date, over 250 Montanans have submitted their personal life-saving story and oppose the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
The Senate will vote tonight on a series of votes that if passed, will move forward with a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement health care plan.
You can view Tester’s summary of #WhatsAtRisk for Montanans if Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act HERE.