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Montana house representatives decry federal healthcare law

Posted On Wed, February 16, 2011

The Montana House of Representatives passed a measure yesterday that would prevent Montanans from having to buy health insurance in 2014.

By a vote of 68 to 32, the Montana House of Representatives voted to consider passing an amendment to the state's constitution that would effectively remove the requirement to buy health insurance.

The vote may turn out to be only symbolic. As with many states, the Montana Congress is divided, and the only way the state's constitution can be amended is if it's put on the 2012 ballot. Thus, with 28 Republicans in the senate, and Democrats largely in favor of the federal healthcare law, the amendment will likely come four votes short of the total needed to pass.

Speaking to the Billings Gazette, Representative Gary MacLaren denounced the federal healthcare requirement, saying it penalizes the poor.

"Who doesn't have health insurance? People who can't afford it," MacLaren said. "If they don't [buy health insurance] we're going to fine them. So what are we doing? We're fining people for being poor."

Republicans in the U.S. Congress are offering alternatives to the federal healthcare plan, saying healthcare can be improved and costs lowered by allowing insurance companies to sell over state lines. 

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