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New AFP-Montana Ads Hold Sen. Jon Tester Accountable for Skyrocketing Health Care Costs

Apr 19, 2018 by AFP

Statewide campaign urges Tester to vote to expand healthcare choice

HELENA, MT. – Americans for Prosperity – Montana (AFP-MT) on Wednesday will launch a statewide television and digital ad campaign holding Senator Jon Tester accountable for his votes to keep Obamacare, costing Montanans millions, and urging him to support policies that expand healthcare choice. Despite admitting repeatedly that Obamacare isn’t working, Senator Tester voted against providing relief from skyrocketing healthcare costs.

The grassroots group, which has over 17,000 activists and hundreds of local donors from across the state, is investing approximately $560,000 in TV and digital ads urging Jon Tester to support the Improving Choices in Health Care Coverage Act. This legislation, currently in the Senate, would expand healthcare choice and provide lower cost health insurance options for Montanans.

“Again and again Tester promised us relief from rising healthcare costs,” said AFP-MT State Director David Herbst, “Instead, we’ve had years of empty rhetoric and healthcare costs that continue to rise. It’s time for Tester to choose people over politics and work to expand healthcare choice for the people of Montana.”

This Montana effort comes on the heels of the most significant federal tax reform in a generation, which included an end to Obamacare’s individual mandate. The individual mandate forced Americans to either purchase health insurance or pay a penalty, essentially punishing consumers for not purchasing a product they don’t want or can’t afford. In 2017, Senator Tester voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and repealing the individual mandate, choosing once again, to force Montanans to pay the price.

The television ad will begin running on-air Thursday, April 19 and will continue throughout the coming weeks.

BACKGROUND:

Senator Tester Told Montanans Health Insurance Costs Would Go Down Under Obamacare

Tester Said He Supported Obamacare Because It Would “Make Insurance Affordable For All Americans.” “This morning I voted to keep the government out of our health care decisions while making insurance affordable for all Americans.” (Press Release, “Tester Statement On Passage Of Health Care Reform Bill,” Senator Jon Tester, 12/24/09)

But Costs Continued To Increase

Between 2013 And 2017, Individual Market Premiums In Montana Increased By 133 Percent. (“Individual Market Premium Changes: 2013 – 2017,” Department Of Health And Human Services, 5/23/17)

Tester Knows Obamacare Isn’t Working

In 2017, Tester Said Of Obamacare, “I Regret Not Making It Better.” “A top Senate Democrat says he regrets not doing enough to fix Obamacare. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., acknowledged Thursday that mistakes were made with Obamacare and Democrats failed to communicate what was in the bill and did little to make modifications over the past seven years to make it better. ‘There were plenty of mistakes made with the Affordable Care Act,’ Tester told Fox News. ‘It was a big bill that should have been made better and never happened. I regret not making it better.’” (Sean Langille, “Democratic Sen. Jon Tester: I Regret Not Making Obamacare Better,” Washington Examiner, 5/4/17)

But Tester Voted Against Providing Relief To Montanans

Tester Voted Against A Partial Repeal Of Obamacare. (S.Amdt. 271 To S.Amdt. 267 To H.R. 1628, Roll Call Vote #169: Amendment Rejected 45-55: R 45-7; D 0-46; I 0-2, 7/26/17, Tester Voted Nay)

  • This Bill Would Have Repealed Parts Of Obamacare Including The Individual Mandate While Protecting Market Reforms.“This version repeals the coverage provisions in the Affordable Care Act, including the individual mandate, Medicaid expansion and premium subsidies in two years, but it leaves in place insurance market reforms like ensuring a base level of coverage. It is similar to a 2015 repeal bill that was vetoed by President Barack Obama.” (Haeyoun Park, Alicia Parlapiano, And Margot Sanger-Katz, “The Three Plans To Repeal Obamacare That Failed In The Senate This Week,” The New York Times, 7/28/17)

Tester Voted Against The “Skinny Repeal” Of Obamacare. (S.Amdt. 667 To S.Amdt. 267 To H.R. 1628, Roll Call Vote #179:Amendment Rejected 49-51: R 49-3; D 0-46; I 0-2, 7/28/17, Tester Voted Nay)

  • This Bill Would Have Repealed The Individual And Employer Mandates While Making No Changes To The Medicaid Program. “This version, officially released by Republican leaders on Thursday night, would basically eliminate the least popular parts of the Affordable Care Act, but would make no changes to the Medicaid program. It does little to help Republicans reach important policy goals, like eliminating the Affordable Care Act’s insurance regulations or lowering premiums.” (Haeyoun Park, Alicia Parlapiano, And Margot Sanger-Katz, “The Three Plans To Repeal Obamacare That Failed In The Senate This Week,” The New York Times, 7/28/17)

Tester Also Voted To Keep The Individual Mandate

Tester Voted Against The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Of 2017. (H.R. 1, Roll Call Vote #323: Motion Agreed To 51-48: R 51-0; D 0-46; I 0-2, 12/20/17, Tester Voted Nay)

  • The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Effectively Ended The Individual Mandate. “The individual health insurance mandate goes away in 2019: Beginning in 2019, Americans would no longer be required by law to buy health insurance (or pay a penalty if they don’t). The individual mandate is part of the Affordable Care Act, and removing it was a top priority for Trump and congressional Republicans.” (Heather Long, “The Final GOP Tax Bill Is Complete. Here’s What Is In It.,” The Washington Post’s Wonkblog, 12/15/17)