RiverStone Health Center hosted a round table Thursday morning to discuss the importance of the Affordable Care Act to Montanan's access to healthcare.
The bus is making it's way around the country to lead conversations about why they believe it's important to keep the Affordable Care Act. The meeting focused on the increased quantity and quality of health care provided to all Montanan's as a result of the current act.
"We've seen a drop in our uninsured patients in 2013 our uninsured patients were about 51 percent of our patient population. In 2017 last year, 21 percent of our patients were uninsured," said Barb Shneerman from RiverStone Health Center.
On the bus making its stop in Billings is Laura Packard. Last July, Packard walked into a doctor with a cough and was diagnosed with stage four cancer.
"I am on the bus traveling across the country to 24 states 11,000 miles sharing my story because the affordable care act saved my life its important that people know that real people's lives are at stake," said Packard.
Packard along with regional health care officials and State Representative Kathy Kelker, voiced their concerns about the type of care being provided to those with chronic and pre-existing conditions if the affordable care act is repealed. Senator Jon Tester provided a statement to voice his support for the panel saying,
"...there are politicians back in Washington and some even closer to home who are actively trying to raise costs rip away Montana's health care and take us back to the old days. they want to give insurance companies the power again to -- -deny folks health care coverage if they have a pre existing conditions like high blood pressure, cancer or diabetes. they are trying to push Montanans towards junk insurance plans that cost money but don't provide any coverage that is why they are called junk plans. we owe it to our family and neighbors to fight back..."
Matt Rosendale expressed his issues with the Affordable Care Act and addressed the concerns of those with pre-existing conditions.
"When we started hearing about increases in health insurance rates that is a direct result of Obamacare that Jon tester brought to us. when i was sworn in as state auditor the first thing i did was try to bring a program forward to cover pre existing and chronic conditions for the people of Montana and make sure they had as many options as possible to accommodate their health care needs in a way that recognizes their individual budgets their personal health care needs and their personal choices."