Montana Policy Institute Covers Healthcare Protest

Local Group Protests Health Care Proposals

By: Michael Noyes | 2009-12-15

BOZEMAN – The national health care debate came to Main Street today as protesters gathered at noon outside Sen. Jon Tester’s (D) local office.

Around 35 people showed up to protest potential health care legislation that is currently under consideration in the Senate. The House passed a health care bill earlier this year.

The protest was organized by local activist Tom Burnett to coincide with the 218th anniversary of the Bill of Rights ratification. Members of the group held signs with slogans such as “No New Entitlements” and “No to Federal Control of Health Care.”

Retired Bozeman resident Joel Price, 76, participated in the protest and said current health care proposals would overload the system. He said any changes should attempt to address individual issues without scrapping the current system.

“It’s just like having a car with a flat tire,” Price said. “You don’t destroy the whole car.”

The group spent about 30 minutes outside Tester’s office before taking the protest to the local office of Senator Max Baucus (D) who plays a leading role in shaping health care legislation in the Senate.

Jon Cummins, a 37-year-old student and carpenter from Belgrade, stopped to talk with protestors in front of Tester’s office. Cummins said he disagrees with those who say the country can’t afford the current health care proposals.

“In my opinion, we can’t afford not to,” Cummins said. “By doing nothing, it continues to keep the unhealthy, unhealthy…that’s an infringement on the rights and equality of people in America.”

Burnett said he believes increased government involvement in health care would lead to higher costs, lower quality care and fewer innovations.

“It’s gargantuan and it’s ever morphing,” Burnett said of current proposals. “Its general provisions are ruinous to the economy.”

Burnett said he has received calls from Montana voters who are wintering throughout the southwest states who oppose the current legislation. Protestors also gave each senate office a list of about 90 names of Montana voters opposed to current health legislation proposals to the senators, according to Burnett.

Tester’s local office referred questions to a spokesperson who did not immediately return a phone call requesting comment.

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