Fox News interview hides that Montana Republican Senate candidate would allow insurance companies not to cover pre-existing conditions

Fox News interview hides that Montana Republican Senate candidate would allow insurance companies not to cover pre-existing conditions

Fox News did not mention that Matt Rosendale reauthorized a program, previously banned for fraud, that excluded coverage for pre-existing conditions

Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

Montana’s Republican Senate nominee and state insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale told Fox anchor Bill Hemmer that he has “really worked very hard to make sure pre-existing conditions and chronic conditions are covered.”

But as Montana newspapers have detailed, Rosendale supports repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which guarantees coverage for pre-existing conditions. Furthermore, in his role as insurance Commissioner Rosendale even authorized the sale of insurance-like products that “do not guarantee coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.”

Instead of giving his viewers these facts, Hemmer offered only a weak rebuttal, citing a brief quote from Rosendale’s opponent, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT): “He’s arguing that you’re putting pre-existing conditions at risk.”

From the October 17 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:

BILL HEMMER (HOST): Matt Rosendale is my guest now in Montana. ... I did a lot of reading trying to figure out what the issues are. Health care keeps coming up time and again. Is that what decides this race in Montana?

MATT ROSENDALE (MONTANA GOP SENATE CANDIDATE): Health care is one of the real big factors here, Bill. Jon Tester is the fella who brought us Obamacare, and my work in the auditor's office has shown that I have really worked very hard to make sure pre-existing conditions and chronic conditions are covered, and make sure people of Montana have a broad range of health care options to accommodate --

HEMMER: Because he is arguing that you are putting pre-existing conditions at risk. This is the one thing you guys agree on, is that you both believe health care costs are going higher and there has to be a solution to it, but you differ on what the solution is.

ROSENDALE: Absolutely. The problem is he brought us Obamacare, which is what is driving the costs up, Bill.

HEMMER: Based on his vote for the ACA.

ROSENDALE: I've been working for quite some time now to make sure that the people of Montana have a broad range of options to make sure they can accommodate their health care needs in a way that recognizes their budget, their personal needs, and their personal choices as well.

Montana news coverage shows how misleading and insufficient this Fox segment is. Rosendale has introduced and supported insurance-like schemes that do not cover pre-existing conditions. Specifically, Rosendale re-authorized Medi-Share, a program that was banned for “fraudulent practices” for refusing to pay for the health care of a Montana man who had cancer. In another instance, Medi-Share refused to pay for the treatment of a Montana pastor until a court ordered otherwise.

Here is an article from the Helena, MT-based Independent Record (emphasis added):

In his role as state Auditor, which oversees the insurance industry in Montana, Rosendale has brought in primary care agreements that allow people to enter into direct contracts with primary care providers outside of the health insurance framework.

He’s also advocated for the short-term plans, the ones Tester calls “junk plans,” and allowed a religious health care sharing ministry to return to operating in the state after it was banned in 2007.

“People have a multitude of options to take care of their needs in a way that recognizes their budget, their specific health care needs and their personal choices,” Rosendale said.

The primary care agreements were twice vetoed by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, who said they did not provide value to consumers and often charged for treatments already covered by insurance.

Medi-Share, the health ministry that is operating in Montana, was banned in 2007 because of fraudulent practices after it did not pay a claim for a Montana man who had cancer. Both products are not regulated by the auditor's office because they are not traditional insurance.

Medi-Share and the short-term insurance plans do not guarantee coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, one of the landmark protections in the Affordable Care Act.

Medi-Share explicitly excludes coverage for pre-existing conditions. In 2017, Montana Cowgirl Blog described what Medi-Share does offer:

Here’s how this works: To join the pyramid you must must pledge your devout Christian faith (and even get a reference from a minister). You must not drink, take drugs or have sex outside of a “traditional” marriage. Pre-existing conditions make you ineligible to participate at all, although one does get the benefit of a “prayer chain.”

The coverage doesn’t include products of “un-Biblical lifestyles,” such as contraception or substance use rehabilitation–or preventive care like PAP tests, colonoscopies and mammograms.

Usually, bill-sharing plan members contribute a predetermined amount each month. When they have a medical bill, they receive monetary help from fellow members. All of the programs are careful to bury in the fine print that they not promising to pay bills, only “facilitating a voluntary sharing.” Some of these schemes even publish your medical problems in a newsletter to “share” your bill with the community in case anyone wants to chip in–so much for medical privacy.

The pro-ACA advocacy organization Protect Our Care provided additional details about how Rosendale’s policies could leave Montana residents without coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Posted In
Elections, Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Bill Hemmer
Show/Publication
America's Newsroom
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