Tester visits western Montana to hear healthcare concerns

by Augusta McDonnell, KPAX

MISSOULA –  Montana democratic Senator Jon Tester is visiting western Montana to attend a series of listening sessions about upcoming healthcare concerns.

He spent Friday at roundtable sessions hosted by healthcare facilities in Libby and Kalispell.

Tester said he is expecting to hear about what is and is not working Montana’s healthcare system, well as gather ideas about what issues need to be improved upon.

On Saturday, he will be continuing his tour. The first session will be held in St. Ignatius at Flathead Tribal Health, at 35401 Mission Dr., between 11:00 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.

The second event will take place in Missoula at Providence St. Patrick Hospital, located at 500 W. Broadway, from 2:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

He said efforts toward improving access to health care and affordability are taken to Washington D.C., where national healthcare policies are under scrutiny.

“There is a move afoot to appeal Obamacare, and we are going to talk about the impacts of that, and talk about how small hospitals and big ones, are going to be able to move forward in the environment we have right now in Washington D.C.,” Tester said.

Tester announced this week that he has begun meeting with president-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees.

He plans to meet with more of the upcoming cabinet secretaries, including Montana representative Ryan Zinke, who is nominated for Secretary of the Interior.

On his web page, Tester has offered a portal for people to submit questions and concerns that he said would ‘shape discussions.’

Tester has posted videos on his Facebook page, where he discusses his impressions of the cabinet picks and his concerns about their positions on policy and other issues.