Tester Defends Montana Against New Health Care Attacks

Senator Pushes Two New Pieces of Legislation to Protect Montanans with Preexisting Conditions

(U.S. Senate) – In the wake of new attempts to undermine the country’s health care system, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is defending the 152,000 Montanans with preexisting conditions.

“Next week, a Texas courthouse will become the newest battlefield in the war against our health care,” Tester said in a speech on the Senate floor this week. “The latest attack? A lawsuit attempting to get rid of legal protections for folks with preexisting conditions.”

In June, the Department of Justice announced it would stop defending the law that prohibits insurance companies from withholding health care coverage or charging people unaffordable insurance rates because of preexisting conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, acne, and even pregnancy. So last month, Tester helped introduce legislation that would allow the Senate to defend protections for people with preexisting conditions in court. Tester urged his colleagues to pass this legislation during a speech on the Senate Floor this week before oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging these protections begin in Texas next week.

“Congress can and should be working together to lower costs and increase access to health care for folks across the country,” Tester said. “But instead, a bunch of unelected bureaucrats are taking the law into their own hands, threatening to create chaos in the marketplace and drive up costs. If they won’t defend Montanans, then we will.”

Tester also introduced legislation today to overturn the Administration’s recent expansion of “junk plans,” or short-term health insurance plans designed to fill temporary gaps in coverage. Current rules only allow individuals to purchase junk plans for up to 90 days because these plans don’t cover basics like preexisting conditions, prescription drugs, or maternity care. But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently finalized a rule that would allow individuals to stay on these junk plans for up to three years.

Tester’s legislation to fight “junk plans” is available HERE. Tester’s resolution to defend preexisting condition protections in court is available HERE. More on Tester’s work to expand access and lower the cost of health care is available HERE and HERE.