A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

2 November 2017 — 0711 mdt

Only John Heenan and Tom Woods have strong health care planks

Six Democrats are running for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Two, John Heenan and Tom Woods, have strong health care planks in their platforms. Two, Lynda Moss and Kathleen Williams, have no platforms, but have made statements concerning health care. Jared Pettinato’s one-plank platform does not mention health care. And Grant Kier’s health care plank is Hillary Clintonesque mush.

In their own words:

John Heenan believes health care is a right

John believes that we need to put people’s health above insurance company and health industry profits. The current proposed healthcare law would be a disaster for families in Montana. It eliminates protections for people with pre-existing conditions, rips away coverage from 70,000 Montanans and causes premiums to increase for countless others. John believes healthcare is a right, and he supports affordable healthcare for everyone, and would vote for Medicare for All.

Tom Woods promises to co-sponsor Medicare for All

Tens of thousands of Montanans still lack insurance, and millions of Americans struggle to pay their rising premiums. Healthcare is a right, and Washington is not doing enough to protect families from soaring healthcare costs. Tom will co-sponsor Medicare-for-All, which will eliminate premiums and deductibles while ensuring Montanans can go to the doctor of their choice without worrying about out-of-network costs or confusing paperwork.

Meanwhile, one-in-four Montanans rely on Medicaid to pay for their healthcare. Tom will vigorously resist attempts by Republicans to undermine this vital program. He will never vote for cynical Republican plans to strip healthcare from millions of Americans in order to cut taxes for the wealthy.

Lynda Moss says health care is a right and supports Medicare for All

Moss does not yet have an issues page on her campaign’s website, but has revealed her position on health care to the news media. On 26 October, Missoula’s KGVO talk radio station’s Jon King reported:

Moss says healthcare is a universal right and that she would support big reforms to health care like Medicare for all…

Kathleen Williams says she’s a “champion for health care”

From her website’s About Kathleen essay:

Williams is a champion for healthcare, understanding that the combined systemic gutting and overcomplication of insurance coverage does not serve the needs of working, retired, or low-income Montanans. A caregiver for her ailing mother at an early age, Williams developed a life outlook of caring for people in need. As a legislator, she advocated for those who have been discarded by the healthcare system. After four years spent connecting the needs of doctors and cancer patients with insurance companies, Williams sponsored a successful bill which ensured the lifesaving coverage of routine cancer treatments while allowing patient participation in innovative clinical trials.

What kind of health care system — the ACA, single-payer, pre-ACA — does she support?

Grant Kier wants to fix the ACA with “Montana values”

Grant recognizes that access to quality affordable medical care is essential for a healthy, prosperous life and is the foundation of vital communities. Parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) help many people in Montana to get health insurance, either for the first time, or the first time in decades. In town after town, Montanans are coming forward to tell Grant that without it, they would not be alive today. The ACA also provides essential support for rural hospitals, ensuring that all Montanans have access to care in their own communities. Rural hospital administrators are telling Grant that without it they would not be open. Community medicine helps attract and retain small businesses, teachers, a local workforce, and the next generation of farmers and ranchers. These benefits are threatened by undermining the ACA, either by seeking a return to the previous, failed health care system or by seeking to replace it with a completely different system.

Instead of partisan politics, Montanans need predictability and a Congress that will work to fix the ACA where it’s broken, while protecting its core mission of making high quality healthcare more affordable and accessible at every step. Grant knows that the best way to find common-sense fixes to the ACA is to bring people together around shared Montana values. Common ground for doctors, nurses, small business owners, and patients together means protecting the things we value most, changing the things that aren’t working, and all sharing in the benefits of healthy Montanans.

Translation of “seeking to replace it with a completely different system:” Kier opposes a single-payer health care system. His health care plank is functionally identical to Jon Tester’s. Kier is a Hillarycrat.

Jared Pettinato has no published position on health care

He doesn’t even pussyfoot around the issue. He simply does not mention it. This is not acceptable behavior for a Democrat who's making a serious effort to win the election. I therefore find myself wonder whether Pettinato’s using the election to raise an issue and/or his professional profile.