HELENA – Governor Steve Bullock on Friday issued his first outright veto of the 2019 Legislature – shooting down a Republican-sponsored bill on health insurance.
The governor vetoed Senate Bill 54, which is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas (R-Stevensville).
The bill would align state law with new, less-stringent federal regulations on health-insurance arrangements among a group of related businesses, for their employers.
Bullock said the new federal rules make it easier for sellers of these plans to offer sub-standard coverage – and that the state should not be relaxing its oversight.
The sponsor, Senator Thomas, told MTN News Friday that Democrats don’t want to allow more health-insurance options in the private market – because they’re pushing for more government-run coverage.
Thomas’ bill passed on mostly party-line votes in the Legislature, with Republicans in favor.
Bullock’s veto means the bill is dead because Republicans don’t have enough votes to override it.
-Mike Dennison reporting for MTN News