Protecting Montana from attacks on our health care

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“I am a cancer survivor, as is my 22-year-old son. It is frightening to think that both of us may be uninsurable in the future if this trend continues.”

That is a portion of the letter I recently received from a Montanan named Karen.

Karen wrote me from Belgrade to express her anxiety about the U.S. Justice Department’s recent decision to stop defending a law that prevents health insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

These protections have been in place to help Montanans access health insurance for years, and despite endless political attacks against our health care system, these safeguards have been upheld by the Supreme Court and continue to be supported by members of both parties in Congress.

But now, as a result of this new policy in Washington, folks in Libby are at risk of being locked out of health insurance.

These unelected bureaucrats want to take us back to the old days when insurance companies ran around unchecked, forcing families to pay higher premiums and locking them out of health insurance because of common ailments like high blood pressure, diabetes and even pregnancy.

If they get their way, more than 152,000 Montanans could lose access to health insurance and folks in Lincoln County with heart disease, cancer, and asthma could get locked out of coverage through no fault of their own.

That is unacceptable, and I won’t stand for it. Montanans and all Americans deserve better.

That’s why I introduced legislation to make sure folks with pre-existing conditions don’t lose their health insurance.

I am also sponsoring a series of bills to lower health care costs for all Montanans — bills that will drop the price of prescription drugs, protect access to Medicaid, and prevent more harmful premium hikes.

I will continue to defend Montanans against these attacks on our health care and hold Washington accountable to every Montanan, regardless of whether they have a pre-existing condition.

Jon Tester is a Montana farmer and the state’s senior U.S. Senator.

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