Former Democratic Governor and potential 2014 candidate for U.S. Senate, Brian Schweitzer, has developed a complicated relationship with Pres. Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.
The former governor has never said that he opposes the law outright. However, he has roundly criticized aspects of the law while consistently stating that he prefers a Canadian-style single-payer healthcare system. In September of 2011, he announced that Montana was applying for a waiver from the law to set up its own healthcare system, but was told by the federal Department of Health and Human Services that waivers would not be available until 2017.
Despite continued criticism of the ACA — especially the implications for the state budget caused by Medicaid expansion — Schweitzer included the full expansion in his final budget proposal as governor in late 2012.
Given Schweitzer’s potential candidacy for U.S. Senate, Media Trackers Montana has compiled a list of 9 notable Obamacare quotes from Schweitzer:
1. “Ive spent a great deal of time studying a lot of different countries health-care systems. This time around, Im looking at a system straight north of us.” — From an interview with the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff.
2. Asked about health insurance competing with proposed single payer system: “Help yourself. It’ll be a lonely place over there at Blue Cross Blue Shield I’m afraid.”
3. “If you want to pay twice as much for Blue Cross and Blue Shield [than a single payer system] and have their accountants lie to you, just stay right where you’re at.” — From an interview with the Daily Kos in September of 2011.
4. “In Saskatchewan, they have five MRIs for the entire province. We have three in Helena for 35,000 people and a couple of dozen for Montana.” — Complaining that Montana has TOO MUCH healthcare technology in an interview with the Daily Kos in September of 2011.
5. “The second problem we have is that one of the least effective programs in terms of health care, in the history of this country, is something called Medicaid.” –– Speaking on CSPAN in July of 2009
6. [The spending] is kicked down the road. And if you believe that this bill is not going to change between now and 17, 18, and 19, when a lot of this kicks in, then you are smoking your own belly button lint. — Speaking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe in May of 2010.
7. “I think the flaw in this system is that there is a mandate that you buy insurance from a private company. Well, thats telling a citizen that you have to take your money out of your pocket and give it to some company over here.” — From an Interview with the Yale Politic in April of 2012.
8. “I thought, ‘My gosh, if I’m going to have to double my patient load and run the risk of bankrupting Montana, why wouldn’t I look at a system that a neighbor is using for those people that are in the Medicaid population?” — From an October 2011 interview with YES! Magazine.
9. “I am worried because there are only three states that will increase the number of people on Medicaid at a faster rate than Montana, thanks to the new health care bill. My job is to try and find ways to go forward that Montana can continue to fund Medicaid and not be like 48 other states…broke.” — Speaking to representatives of the Montana Hospital Association and Blue Cross-Blue Shield in November of 2010.