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Sep 18, 2018

Tester Passes Bill to Invest in Rural Medicine, Lower Health Care Costs

Senator Scored Big Wins for Montana in Annual Health & Human Services Appropriations Bill

(U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester secured big investments in rural health care and addiction treatment today with the passage of the bipartisan 2019 Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill.

"If we want Montana to thrive we have to keep Montanans healthy," Tester said. "This legislation will help expand access to health care in rural areas and lower costs, while also combatting drug abuse and addiction."

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester secured critical investments for Montana in today's legislation-one of the 12 major bills that fund the federal government each year. The investments Tester secured include:

In addition to these major investments, Tester also secured two provisions to lower prescription drugs costs and bring more medical professionals to rural America.

Current regulations prohibit Medicare from funding resident training rotations at Critical Access Hospitals. This has significantly limited recruitment and training efforts in rural states like Montana, which is home to over 40 Critical Access Hospitals. That's why Tester secured a provision in today's legislation that urges Medicare to reconsider these regulations and support residency programs in rural hospitals. Tester has also introduced the Restoring Rural Residencies Act, which would override these regulations and encourage more medical professionals to practice in rural communities.

Tester also secured a provision that would lower prescription drug costs by reining in pharmaceutical middlemen. Under the current system, pharmacists that serve Medicare Part D patients work with a Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM) to collect payment from the patient's insurance company. The PBM can then charge these pharmacies fees weeks or months after the sale, artificially inflating patients' out-of-pocket costs. That's why Jon secured a provision in today's legislation that urges Medicare to limit PBMs' ability to retroactively charge pharmacies for their services-similar to his bipartisan Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Drug Spending Act.

More information about Tester's work to lower the cost of health care is available HERE and HERE.


Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.


Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768


Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647


Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586


208 North Montana Avenue
Suite 104
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462


8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974


130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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