Legislative update

This week I only had one bill (SB 149) to present before the House Human Services Committee.

By Sen. Matt Rosendale

In light of the looming U.S. Supreme Court decision which could turn President Obama’s Affordable Care Act upside down, I have been working with several legislators to make sure the citizens of Montana will have access to multiple free market options for health care. We have focused on options that are both accessible and affordable.

One of those is SB 149 which deals with Primary Care Providers. It allows Primary Care Providers (physicians, physician assistants, advance practice registered nurse, optometrists and chiropractors) to develop a list of services and a corresponding fee schedule that individuals and families may contract. The legislation provides that different people may not be charged different fees for the same service. It requires a disclosure which clearly states the product is not insurance.

It requires a cancellation clause. While this option will not work for everyone, no product will. It will, however, work very well for certain folks and give them the ability to drive down their healthcare costs with a Primary Healthcare Plan and a separate catastrophic healthcare plan.

I was delighted to have my wife Jean and my youngest son Adam visit me at the Capitol this week. He flew in from Bismarck and stayed a couple of days. They watched the “action” on the Senate floor Mar. 21.

I was invited to speak before the Montana Ambassadors group Mar. 20. They are a group of business and education leaders from across the state dedicated to living and doing business in Montana. They serve at the pleasure of the governor and act as official ambassadors. They represent the Governor and the Department of Commerce. I was invited to give a Legislative update.

With some of the days we have, sometimes I feel like I lost a pound of flesh. This week was different though. I gave a pint of blood, no joke. The Red Cross was having a blood drive at the Capitol and when I finished my work Friday afternoon, they were still there. So I stopped and gave a pint. I recommend it to everyone who can donate. They always need donors, it doesn’t take long and you help many people more than you will ever realize.

Well, the Department of Health and Human Services is at it again. They are promoting the Montana Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program. It will be administered by county health officials and Planned Parenthood of Montana and other similar organizations. The program is being offered in Big Horn, Roosevelt, Lake and Hill Counties. They hope to operate in two middle schools in each of those counties as they have higher teenage pregnancy rates. The curriculum is titled “Making Proud Choices” and aims to reduce pregnancy and STD rates by promoting “safer sex approach”.

Strategies include “youth leadership team” and “increasing access to youth friendly, contraceptive and reproductive healthcare”. You may view some of the training videos yourself at: www.selectmedia.org/ m e d i a / d v d s / s o f i a – miguel.html I recommend that you check in with your local school district to determine if they intend on adopting any similar curriculum.

We celebrated National Agriculture Day at the Capitol this week and many ag groups visited. My friend Senator Jennifer Fielder from Thompson Falls was awarded the “Keeper of the Tenth” by the Montana Agri Women for her work to protect states’ rights and defend the Tenth Amendment. It was great to see many of my friends from eastern Montana in the rotunda.

Please continue to send you questions and comments to mattrosendale@midrivers.co m or call 406-444-4800