Recent Posts

Only thing worse than Obamacare is … what?


The most important issue before Montana legislators this session isn’t really even on the agenda. And it’s not their fault.

The fate of health insurance for millions of Americans, and for tens of thousands of Montanans, rests in the hands of a Congress dominated by Republicans, who have vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as one of their first items of business when Donald Trump takes over as president. The GOP also has vowed to replace Obamacare, but that could take years. In the meantime, uncertainty could damage or even destroy insurance companies, and millions of people could lose insurance. This has left Montana lawmakers in a quandary. Continue Reading →

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Tester seeks input on Obamacare

Has the Affordable Care Act made your life better? If so, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., wants to know. Tester has set up a website to gather input from Montanans about what the ACA, better known as Obamacare, has done for them. The goal is to thwart plans by Republicans to repeal the law once Donald Trump takes office as president. “I know our healthcare system isn’t perfect,” Tester said in a news release. Continue Reading →

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Montana Viewpoint: Thoughts for the coming Legislature


The Montana Legislature will convene in a few days to conduct the business of the citizens of Montana. Legislators have some serious work to do, little time to do it, and less time to think about how their actions will affect their employers. Here are some issues they might want to think about as they begin the session: (more…) Continue Reading →

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Obamacare update: the good, bad and ugly

steve daines

I got a “Dear David” email from U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., on Friday that began, “I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news … .”

Actually, it sounded like he was delighted to be the bearer of bad news. Proposed healthcare premiums under Obamacare are soaring next year, the email said, proving once again that “Obamacare is failing Montanans,” and allowing him to echo what has been a Republican mantra ever since the bill passed. Unfortunately, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., wasn’t much more helpful. In a statement on Friday, he said, “It is outrageous that a major corporation is trying to raise insurance rates on Montanans as they hand out lavish bonuses to their executives.”

Neither senator wastes the precious time of his constituents by delving into the actual facts. A quick check of the website of the state insurance commissioner, Monica Lindeen, bore out the bad news. Continue Reading →

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David Crisp: Warning—This column contains alleged facts

An alert reader sent along a message he got from U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont. “I just thought this might need an editorial reply,” the reader wrote. Agreed. In the message, Daines happily reported that the Senate had just voted to repeal Obamacare. Not until the eighth paragraph did he mention that President Obama still has to sign the bill, which nobody expects to happen. Continue Reading →

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Zinke’s early votes not encouraging


During his run for Montana’s U.S. House seat, Ryan Zinke often seemed uncertain about exactly what positions he held. That’s a bad trait in a candidate but not necessarily in a congressman. Issues before Congress can be complicated, and remaining open to evidence is more helpful than going to Washington with a closed mind. So it was reasonable to hope that now-Rep. Zinke would prove a more flexible and pragmatic House member than his predecessor. But early returns are not encouraging. Continue Reading →

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From the Outpost: On stupid voters (present company excepted)

Jonathan Gruber got himself—and the Obama administration—into trouble last week when a tape surfaced in which he referred to the “stupidity of the American voter.”

The context made it worse. Mr. Gruber, an economist at MIT who had a hand in writing the Affordable Care Act, praised lack of transparency about the bill and said that it was written in a “tortured way” so the Congressional Budget Office would not score the individual mandate as a tax. (more…) Continue Reading →

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From the Outpost: With Curtis, at least a sliver of hope

Regular readers of this irregularly filled space know that I am no fan of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Daines. I have written columns:

* Criticizing his foolish and un-American bill that would tie congressional pay to balancing the budget. Why un-American? Because the bill would allow millionaires like Daines to hold hostage for partisan ends the paychecks of middle-class representatives like his Democratic opponent, Amanda Curtis. It’s a dumb idea, and the fact that a Democrat, John Lewis, argues that members of Congress shouldn’t get paid unless they pass a budget doesn’t make it any smarter. Continue Reading →

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