Tester: Senate Health Care Plan Devastating for Montana Veterans

Senator Highlights Cuts to Disabled, Elderly, Rural Veterans’ Health Care

(U.S. Senate) – Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Jon Tester today highlighted the negative impacts of the controversial Senate health care plan on Montana veterans.

Of the approximately 100,000 veterans living in Montana, half choose to receive their health care outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Nationwide, approximately 7 million veterans go outside of the VA for their healthcare.

“This plan, written in secret, will devastate thousands of elderly, disabled and rural Montana veterans who go outside of the VA for all or some of their health care,” said Tester. “This plan guts Medicaid which provides life-saving treatment, mental health care and access to health care providers for thousands of folks who have bravely served this nation. I will be working hard to make sure that any health care law honors our promises to our veterans, but this plan doesn’t even come close.”

After 13 Senators drafted the so-called Better Care Reconciliation Act behind closed doors, they finally released the legislation to the public just days before forcing a Senate vote.

The potential impacts of the Senate health care bill on Montana veterans include:

  • 7,000 disabled and low-income veterans could lose Medicaid coverage. 
  • 47 percent of elderly and low-income veterans could pay more out-of-pocket for Medicare coverage.
  • 47,000 rural veterans could face difficulty accessing vital services at their rural hospitals.
  • 21,780 veterans seeking mental health care outside of the VA could be charged more for a pre-existing condition. 
  • 7,029 veterans could lose access to care for opioid or other substance abuse disorders.
  • Up to 9,000 Montana veterans could lose health insurance tax credits, jeopardizing their access to health care.

Tester has spent the last seven months on a statewide health care tour. From Plentywood to Butte to Libby, Tester has held over a dozen health care listening sessions in every corner of the state. Most recently, he held an in-person town hall meeting Saturday in Great Falls.

In addition to regular face-to-face meeting with Montanans, Tester also hosts frequent tele-town halls and online town halls to connect directly with Montanans.

Tester will hold a Facebook Live town hall tonight, June 27 at 6:00 p.m. MST.