Tester Shares Montanans’ Stories As 13 Senators Write Secret Health Care Bill

Senator’s #WhatsAtRisk Campaign Highlights People Who Could Lose Access to Health Care

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester this week is sharing real stories from Montanans to highlight #WhatsAtRisk as 13 Senators secretly scheme to rewrite the American health care system and likely raise health insurance costs, yank coverage away from tens of thousands of Montanans and dry up access to quality care across Montana.

Tester will be rolling out firsthand accounts from Montanans who could lose access to health insurance, pay higher costs for prescription drugs, and be forced to pay more because of pre-existing conditions like diabetes and high-blood pressure.

“There are 13 Senators working behind closed doors on a secret health care bill that could kick thousands of Montanans off their health insurance, put rural hospitals at risk, and force folks in their 50s and 60s to pay more for health care,” Tester said. “To ensure Montanans have their voices heard during these secret meetings, I am going to share firsthand stories from folks who will be impacted by a deadly rewrite of America’s health care system.”

In December, Tester launched a webpage for Montanans to submit their personal stories about #WhatsAtRisk if Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act. Tester has received over 3,600 pieces of health care correspondence from Montanans.

Tester will share these stories via Medium,on his Facebook Page and during his speech on the Senate floor.

Tester’s first story comes from Justin Anthony in Missoula:

After a minor heart incident in 2004, from which I completely recovered two months later, I was denied health insurance. They used every incident in my medical record to justify not covering a person who went to the doctor and took care of himself. I could not afford any medical intervention on several conditions that continued to worsen. In 2013 I was involved in a vehicle crash and grossly self-underinsured. I am still paying St Pats the equivalent of a new F250 every month. Nine years after my first denials I was insured through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and managed to catch up on some of my health issues. Among other things my back was too far gone and needed a double fusion. This year I had total knee replacement. I have endured years of pain and could not work. ACA has changed everything and I am returning to an active, productive life again.

The House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act last month, and a recent nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office report reported that the bill will:

  • Cause 23 million more Americans to be uninsured in the next decade.
  • Force seniors, Montanans nearing retirement, and people with pre-existing conditions, like diabetes and high blood pressure, to pay higher premiums. 
  • Cut Medicaid by $834 billion.
  • Force one in six Americans to live in areas with unstable insurance markets by 2020.

The secret Senate health care bill is expected to go directly to the Senate floor for a final vote next week without a public hearing-denying Montanans the ability to provide input on the future of health care.

Montanans can still share their health care story with Tester on his webpage tester.senate.gov/aca.