Rosendale Backed Into a Corner with No Good Answers For Montanans With Pre-Existing Conditions in Saturday’s Debate

Bozeman—Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale, who throughout this campaign has been unable to articulate how exactly he will protect coverage for the 152,000 Montanans with pre-existing conditions, was on the defensive yet again during Saturday’s debate. And yet again, he had no good answer. In fact, he didn’t answer the question at all.

Rosendale was put on defense early during Saturday’s debate, first when panelist Jackie Yamanaka called him out for not answering her question—whether he would put his own family on a short-term insurance plan that doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions—and then by Sen. Jon Tester, who told of his family’s own experience with junk health insurance.

As a reminder, Rosendale supports expanding short-term health insurance plans, which aren’t required to cover pre-existing conditions like asthma and high blood pressure. He also brought Medi-Share—a health care program that was banned from Montana and is also not required to cover pre-existing conditions—back to the state. He also supported policies that would remove protections for folks with pre-existing conditions.


“The fact of the matter is they don’t cover pre-existing conditions,”
Tester said. “They don’t cover much. My folks had one of those such plans when I got these fingers cut off in a meat grinder, and it didn’t cover anything. And I remember my father going, ‘we bought this insurance to have it when we need it, and when we needed it, it wasn’t there.’ If you buy junk insurance—what the Commissioner is promoting—you’ll have nothing when you get sick, because it doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. It doesn’t prevent for lifetime caps. If you’ve got asthma, high blood pressure, whatever it might be, they won’t cover it.”