Quality Health Care

As a new father in the early 1980s, Jon and his wife Sharla had to forego health insurance because of its cost. Jon knows firsthand how important it is for people — especially those in rural America — to have access to quality affordable health care.

Jon has fought for and won critical investments and upgrades for Montana’s hospitals and community health clinics, and the Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD) Clinic in Libby.

In 2009, Jon helped pass a bipartisan expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to provide health insurance to thousands of additional Montana children, and millions more nationwide.

A champion for rural veterans, Jon successfully fought for new VA clinics in Havre, Lewistown, Cut Bank, and Libby. He got the VA to build new Vet Centers in Kalispell and Great Falls. He doubled the size of the Billings VA Clinic. And he brought VA telemedicine facilities to Plentywood and Hamilton.

And Jon supported holding health insurance companies accountable by making sure they can’t deny coverage to people who get sick or have pre-existing conditions.

Jon also helped pass legislation to:

  • Stop insurance companies from dropping coverage when folks get sick
  • Fund Title X programs, including Planned Parenthood, and other women’s health initiatives
  • Ban insurance companies from placing caps on lifetime coverage
  • End copayments for preventative health services
  • Let students stay on their parents’ coverage up to age 26
  • Close Medicare’s prescription drug “doughnut hole” and save seniors money
  • Provide tax credits to small businesses who insure their employees
  • Permanently reauthorize the Indian Health Care Improvement Act
  • Protect veterans’ and military benefits
  • Make sure insurance companies spend more money on patient care instead of just padding their profit margins
  • Create new insurance exchange markets where farmers, ranchers, and self-employed folks can find affordable coverage.

And in 2010, after helping secure a Public Health Emergency declaration for Libby, Montana, Jon introduced legislation to recruit needed medical specialists to areas affected by Public Health Emergencies. Jon’s measure would open up scholarships and student loan assistance to certified primary care specialists who commit at least two years to serving in such areas.

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