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Gianforte meets with seniors to discuss health care

February 13, 2018
In The News

It’s hard to get treatment when you’re 65 or older and rely on a program that pays health providers less than the price of care. And surprising medical bills is a whole other issue.

That’s what a small group of locals told Montana’s U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte at the Bozeman Senior Center on Monday during a roundtable over how federal health coverage plays out for seniors.

Esther Fishbaugh held up several medical titanium bolts that once acted as spinal hardware in her back.

“These cost $46,000,” she said, adding that doesn’t make any sense to her. “You’ve got to have price transparency. And you got a dynamic going on where insurance companies stand between the patient and the doctor.”

Tamera Hall said she’s been trying to jump through the hoops of health care for years, an effort that became more difficult after her multiple sclerosis diagnosis. She said year-to-year, people face changes in what’s covered through their plans and how much care costs, from surgeries to prescriptions.

“We’re smart people, but they change this constantly and they downgrade it and they play games and you can’t keep up,” Hall said.

The complaints aren’t new but highlight the starting point of lawmakers’ ongoing debate around how to fix the nation’s health care delivery system.

Echoing a bipartisan frustration, Republican Gianforte said health care is one of the only areas in life that people make major decisions without knowing what it’s going to cost.

“I think as we look to reform health care, it’s got to include increased transparency, understandable bills and removing barriers between their doctors and patients,” he said.

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