Tester Demands Transparency and Accountability During Health Care Debate

Senator Introduces Resolution as 13 Senators Draft Secret Health Care Bill Behind Closed Doors

(U.S. Senate) – Saying democracy “requires full transparency in the legislative process,” U.S. Senator Jon Tester is fighting to shine more light on the secret Senate health care bill.

Tester today introduced a Senate Resolution demanding a transparent, bipartisan debate from the 13 Senators who are drafting the secret health care bill behind closed doors. Tester is specifically demanding a public hearing and an opportunity for Montanans to provide input on any legislation that will impact access and affordability to health care.

“13 Senators are drafting a secret bill that could kick thousands of Montanans off health insurance, put Montana’s rural hospitals at risk, and force folks approaching retirement to pay more for health care,” Tester said. “Montanans deserve accountability and transparency, and it is time to take this bill out from behind closed doors and give Montanans an open debate about the future of our health care system so we can bring down costs and increase access to health care.”

The lawmakers in control of the Senate have held no public hearings or debate on their secret, partisan health care bill, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated the bill will go directly to the Senate floor for a vote without receiving a single committee hearing, or input from those affected by the legislation.

Tester’s Senate Resolution reads as follows:

Whereas the people of the United States deserve and demand that legislation be created through a transparent, bipartisan process to ensure that they can hold their elected representatives accountable;

Whereas the proper functioning of representative democracy requires full transparency in the legislative process;

Whereas it has been widely reported that a group of Senators is working privately in a partisan fashion to craft national health care legislation in the Senate;

Whereas this group is secretly gathering in closed-door meetings that exclude the public and press;

Whereas Senate leadership has refused to commit to holding a single public hearing on this legislation before going directly to the Senate floor for a vote;

Whereas the draft health care legislation under consideration by a secretive group is one of the largest public policy reforms taken up by Congress in generations;

Whereas this legislation will affect the lives of all people in the United States;

Whereas health care constitutes 1/6 of the gross domestic product of the United States; and

Whereas Congress is elected by the people to serve the people: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that the creation of any sweeping health care legislation must be done in a transparent, bipartisan manner in full view of the people of the United States and not behind closed doors.

Tester yesterday blasted the secret, partisan health care bill on the Senate Floor, and he has been sharing 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 because of this legislation.