New Poll Released Ahead of Senator Jon Tester and Matt Rosendale Debate Tonight Finds Health Care a Top Issue for Majority of Voters, and Strong Opposition to Repeal of ACA and Pre-existing Conditions Protections

Tester Up 4 points, 49-45, in Head-to-head

Washington, DC – Tonight, on the heels of a new poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP) for Protect Our Care showing Montanas have “major concerns” with Matt Rosendale’s pro-repeal record, health care champion Senator Jon Tester will debate Matt Rosendale. The poll also shows the importance and power of health care as an issue in a “red” state. Ahead of the debate, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement:

“We know why Matt Rosendale recently started to pay lip service to protections for people with pre-existing conditions – because his voters vehemently oppose ripping those protections away. But the truth is Matt Rosendale has supported Republican bills to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions in the past and his website says he’ll never ‘give up’ on repeal in the future. Rosendale even voted against the Medicaid expansion, which is a lifeline to thousands of Montanans.”  

Key Findings from the Protect Our Care-PPP Poll of Montana Voters:

  • Fifty-six percent of voters say health care is the most important or a very important issue for them this election.  
  • By a 20 point margin, 56-36, Montana voters oppose Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and instead want to keep what works and fix what doesn’t.
  • Fifty-one percent of voters say the elimination of protections for people with pre-existing conditions, supported by Matt Rosendale, is “a major concern.”
  • Montana voters oppose the Trump administration’s lawsuit to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions by a 49 point margin, 65 percent to 16 percent. A majority of Republicans (51 percent) oppose the administration’s lawsuit.
  • The survey finds Tester with a strong four point lead over Rosendale (49-45) similar to other surveys which have consistently shown Teste rahead. Six percent of respondents were undecided.

PPP surveyed 594 Montana voters on September 28, 2018.  The margin of error is +/- 4.02%. This poll was conducted by automated telephone interviews.

What Would Rosendale’s Repeal of the Affordable Care Act Mean for Montana?

  • Protections for 426,000 Montanans with pre-existing conditions, if they buy coverage on their own
  • Improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs
  • Allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26
  • Ban on annual and lifetime limits
  • Ban on insurance discrimination against women
  • Limit on out-of-pocket costs
  • Medicaid expansion currently covering 15 million people
  • Rules to hold insurance companies accountable
  • Small business tax credits
  • Marketplace tax credits and coverage for up to 49,000 Montanans.

Rosendale Claims To Support Protecting Coverage For Pre-Existing Conditions, But Supported A Repeal That Would Have Gutted Protections

  • Rosendale Supported A Straight Repeal Of The ACA.  “Yet while Daines and Rosendale called for a straight repeal of the ACA, or “Obamacare,” that approach could be a political dead-end as well. […] Daines has never said publicly whether he would have supported the GOP proposal that was pulled Monday night, after two additional Republican senators came out against it. On Tuesday, however, he said it’s time to vote to get rid of ‘Obamacare,’ delay the effective date, and figure out the replacement before that date kicks in. Rosendale agreed, and said two years should be enough time to come up with a replacement.” [KRTV, 7/18/17]
  • Rosendale:  “I Won’t Give Up On Repealing And Replacing Obamacare.” “I won’t give up on repealing and replacing Obamacare. Montana families have been devastated with higher premiums and higher deductibles that have made health care completely unaffordable. President Trump has taken important steps to dismantle this disastrous law by removing the individual mandate and removing limits on health plan options. I’ll continue working to expand access and reduce health care costs because we must provide more affordable options and better care to all Montanans while also protecting those with pre-existing conditions.” [Matt Rosendale for Montana, accessed 8/23/18]
  • Rosendale Claimed The ACA Was In “A Death Spiral” And “Collapsing Under Its Own Weight.” “Obamacare is in a death spiral. Insurance premiums increased yet again by an average of 25 to 50 percent this year in Montana. As more insurers abandon the Affordable Care Act’s exchange, costs continue to skyrocket across the nation. These trends are unsustainable, and the system is collapsing under its own weight. As I’ve traveled across the state, Montanans have told me that reform is necessary. My role as Commissioner of Securities and Insurance is to advocate for the interests of average Montana insurance customers. I’m committed to fighting for health care policies that expand options, reduce costs, improve access, and respect personal choices.” [Matt Rosendale Op-Ed, Helena Independent Record, 3/20/17]
  • 2017: Rosendale Supported A Clean Repeal Bill, Which Would Have Gutted Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions.  “Montana’s two U.S. senators split down party lines Tuesday on the GOP’s failed attempts to do a clean repeal of the Affordable Care Act within two years and replace it, with one saying Montana’s current system is in dire straits and the other accusing Republicans of playing politics.  […] Matt Rosendale, the state securities and insurance commissioner, supported the repeal, saying Obamacare has been driving insurance prices up and limiting the choices people have to access health care. ‘It needs to be repealed, and Montana needs the flexibility to develop our own unique solutions to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens,’ he said. Rosendale said state lawmakers are ‘capable of crafting made-in-Montana policies to ensure transparency, bring down prices, and protect those with preexisting conditions.’  ‘I’m going to keep fighting for reform because the current system is broken and the people of Montana deserve better,’ Rosendale said.” [Great Falls Tribune, 7/18/17]
  • 2017:  Rosendale Supported Allowing Insurers To Offer Plans That Don’t Cover Pre-Existing Conditions Or Offer Minimum Benefits Mandated By The ACA.  “Rosendale said states should be allowed to let health insurers offer less-expensive plans that cover fewer things, instead of the minimum benefits mandated by the ACA. Those products could be priced lower for younger, healthier customers, he said – or people could use non-insurance products for their health coverage, such as agreements with primary-care providers. ‘If you give the consumer the ability to find something that fits their budget, that fits their health-care needs and meets their personal choices, then that will help us start bending the cost curve down,’ Rosendale said. Health insurers and others have said this approach would end up pricing certain people out of the market, such as older, sicker customers. However, Rosendale said the state and federal government can solve that problem by financing a high-risk insurance pool that would offer coverage to these more costly patients.” [KRTV, 7/18/17]

Rosendale Opposed Expanding Medicaid in Montana

Rosendale Voted Against Expanding Medicaid.  [SB 405, 4/18/15]

  • Thanks to the Medicaid expansion that Rosendale opposed, 58,100 Montana residents have gained coverage. 46 percent of Montana’s children rely on Medicaid coverage. Eliminating the Medicaid expansion would devastate Montana’s ability to address the opioid crisis as one in four adults battling addiction nationwide are covered through Medicaid.