Tester says health reform vote is over

Sidney Herald

by Bill Vander Weele

As national leaders were debating this week whether there was going to be a government shutdown, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said he was disappointed that some Republicans were turning the issue back to the Affordable Care Act.

Tester said the bottom line was the health care reform was debated on four or five years ago. “Some folks keep wanting to have the debate over and over again. It’s very difficult listening to some things said on the floor that were factually inaccurate.”

The senator feels the health care reform act, also known as Obamacare, will be a positive for the country in the long run.

“What we’re seeing is it starting to being implemented, and we’re seeing some benefits. Are health care costs going up, yeah they are going up but not at the rate that we’ve seen before,” Tester said. “With some of these exchanges set up, there are significant savings by consumers. There are a lot of folks in the U.S. Senate who are so dug in to this issue that they don’t want to admit it. With that being said, is the bill perfect? Heck no, it’s not perfect.”

The senator said health care reform could be improved by senators working together, but that is not the current atmosphere in Washington, D.C. “The attitude right now is we don’t want to fix it because we don’t want to give people credit for a good bill.”

Tester said it is a bill that can help many individuals including those with preexisting conditions, facing caps and on their parents’ coverage.

Also during Thursday’s phone conference with Montana reporters, Tester noted that while the debate regarding a government shutdown is a big issue, the debt-ceiling issue coming in October “will be playing with total fire.” If the debt-ceiling is not raised, “impacts would be extremely severe.”

Tester added, “It could put this country into an economic tailspin that could make the 1930s look like a high growth time. It is very, very scary. If this is played out and played out to the end, the impacts on business and families are going to be incredibly severe.”