Local officials want the facts to be known

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Editor,

A wise person once said: “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.” The letter to the editor by Mike Batista supporting I-185 blatantly crossed that line.

FACT: Medicaid expansion under Obamacare was passed by the 2015 Montana legislature. The bill contained a sunset provision requiring the legislature to reauthorize the bill in 2019. “Sunsets” are often used when we pass significant pieces of legislation, and they are a good idea. They require the legislature to re evaluate new programs to make necessary corrections or adjustments. A sunset clause does not mean that the program will be discontinued by the legislature. So the claim by the pro I85 crowd that the initiative will prevent 100,000 Montanans from losing their health insurance is FALSE.

FACT: Medicaid expansion under Obamacare deals with a population consisting of able bodied, working age adults. It has nothing to do with care provided to seniors through medicare, nor coverage provided to veterans through the VA.

FACT: The current medicaid expansion program has no requirement that able bodied participants engage in work, job training, education, or community service. It also has no asset test. Wealthy people who can hide income are eligible.

FACT: The proposed tax increase pushed by the corporations supporting 185 would pay for less than half of the cost of the program. There will be at least a 34 million dollar annual deficit that will have to be made up through additional tax increases, or further cuts to education, infrastructure, or law enforcement. The claim that this is a smoker’s only tax is FALSE.

Healthcare in this country is a very important and incredibly complex issue. There is room for all points of view, but we will never make progress until people are candid about the FACTS.

Ken Holmlund and Eric Moore

Miles City, MT

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