Posted: Jul 30, 2012 7:21 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Updated: Jul 30, 2012 9:55 PM
HELENA- A group of Montana doctors are campaigning against the federal Affordable Care Act.
Americans For Prosperity is organizing the coalition of doctors who are opposing President Obama's health reform law.
"Health care is a service, not a human right" was the message scribbled on a sign next to the podium at the Montana Medical Free Choice Coalition kick off event in Helena.
"The problem with PPACA, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is that it's neither affordable nor does it protect patients," Americans For Prosperity state chapter president Joe Balyeat said.
The group is particularly focused on the expansion of Medicaid as under the Affordable Care Act, states can change the income limits so more people have access to Medicaid.
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services predicts this will add 84,000 Montanans to Medicaid, costing $85 million a year.
"None of this stuff is free. They want you to think that your colonoscopy, mammograms and all these things are free, or somehow covering the autistic child at millions of dollars over their lifetime is free," Kalispell doctor Annie Bukacek said. "Somebody pays for that."
The group claims Medicaid patients receive substandard care, and if private industry were allowed to cover these individuals they would get better health care. They also say to lower the cost of health care, the next Montana Legislature needs to look at tort reform and allowing insurance companies to sell policies across state lines.
But, not everyone agrees with the Americans for Prosperity, including State Senator Mary Caferro, a Helena Democrat, who sits on the committee charged with making Medicaid more efficient.
She supports the expansion of Medicaid because she says the people covered under it are low-income working Montanans.
"These are people who cannot afford insurance," Caferro says. "'Repeal and replace.' It's like, repeal and replace with what? The solutions that they run across are the old, regurgitated solutions that aren't solutions. It's just these old, regurgitated ideas that target people who already have insurance and who can afford it.
Caferro says she will continue to work hard to make sure Montanans without insurance have access to health care.