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Guest opinion: Rosendale has impressive healthcare record
GUEST OPINION

Guest opinion: Rosendale has impressive healthcare record

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State Auditor Matt Rosendale

State Auditor Matt Rosendale, right, is shown in this photo conversing on the House floor on Jan. 2, the first day of Montana’s 65th Legislative Session in 2017.

From his very first day as Montana’s State Auditor and Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Matt Rosendale made expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare his top priority. Rosendale has racked up an impressive list of policy achievements that have made healthcare for Montanans more accessible, affordable, and has made it easier for doctors to provide more personalized care to their patients. Rosendale has been a true leader on healthcare, and his expertise is desperately needed in Congress.

Matt Rosendale passed a bill to rein in the middlemen and cut the cost of prescription drugs for Montanans. Rosendale’s legislation targeted Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs) and limited their ability to engage in practices used to inflate the cost of prescription drugs such as price gouging and demanding kickbacks from drug manufacturers. Matt’s bill garnered broad bipartisan support and was shown to cut the cost of prescription drugs for Montanans by $7.5 – $8 million per year. The idea was so revolutionary that Rosendale and his staff were asked to testify before the United States Senate about the core tenants of their legislation.

Matt also successfully cut healthcare premiums for Montanans. Rosendale worked across party lines to create a reinsurance pool that protects individuals with pre-existing conditions and ensures everyone can receive affordable coverage. Rosendale’s policies resulted in Montanans’ healthcare premiums on the individual market decreasing on average by 15% and he was able to successfully prevent multiple double-digit rate increases. And when insurers submitted proposed rate increases for individual market plans for 2021, Rosendale fought back, saying it was unacceptable. Two of the three insurers backed down and agreed to hold their rates steady.

Matt Rosendale has worked to expand access to healthcare and provide Montanans with more choices for care. That’s because Matt believes that Montanans know their health situation best and should be able to choose the options that meet their unique and individual healthcare needs. One of the most important healthcare reforms Rosendale enacted was a memorandum to finally authorize Direct Primary Care, which is one of the main services we provide at CostCare. Matt consulted us early in the process, working with us to craft the language of the memorandum to ensure we were able to care for our patients most effectively. 

Matt Rosendale’s memorandum allows us to provide our patients with high-quality services to meet the vast majority of their healthcare needs for a reasonable cost of just $70 per month. And Matt’s authorization of Direct Primary Care removes third parties from the equation and restores the relationship between doctors and patients. Rather than spending countless hours filling out mountains of paperwork required for insurance authorization and payment, we now get to actually spend our time practicing medicine and providing high quality care for our patients. Pairing Direct Primary Care with a low premium hospitalization insurance plan gives comprehensive coverage for a fraction of what most Montana families currently pay.

In this polarized time, while it’s not entirely surprising that we’ve seen meritless and disingenuous attacks on Matt Rosendale, the outright lies and distortions of his record on healthcare have been deeply disappointing. We take those attacks personally, because we are only able to provide the care that we do for our patients today because of his leadership. Matt knows that access to quality, affordable healthcare choices shouldn’t be a partisan issue—and he works hard every day to make that a possibility for every Montanan, especially those with pre-existing conditions. A lot of politicians talk about increasing access to care and cutting healthcare costs—Matt Rosendale has actually done something about it. 

Dr. Carol Bridges and Lesley Von Eschen are the co-founders and co-owners of CostCare, a Missoula-based clinic which offers Direct Primary Care and Urgent Care services. Dr. Bridges is a physician who has practiced medicine for 25 years; Von Eschen is a certified Physician Assistant.

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