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Lindeen, Hunter Urge Action on Health Insurance Reform

April 25, 2011

Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen today vowed to continue her work to reform health insurance in Montana despite legislative inaction on several key issues, including state-based legislation to establish an online health insurance market.

"Every Montanan deserves quality, affordable health insurance, and I will keep working on Montana-made solutions for Montana's families and small businesses," said Lindeen. "It's my duty to put an end to the worst insurance company abuses - not because of some federal mandate, but because regular Montanans deserve better."

Lindeen held a press conference today with Rep. Chuck Hunter, D-Helena, at the Cooperative Health Center in Helena. Hunter sponsored legislation this year that would have laid the foundation for a state-based health insurance exchange, though the legislative leaders chose to kill the bill in committee.

"We aren't in the Capitol today because this isn't a partisan issue," said Hunter. "We had several chances to adopt legislation that would pave the way for an online health insurance marketplace, from Democrats and Republicans alike. But our legislative leaders chose to let politics take over, and now health insurance reform remains one of the biggest unanswered questions of this legislative session. We still have time, and I hope we can put politics behind us and give Montanans this valuable tool for finding affordable insurance."

Lindeen and Hunter worked for more than a year with local stakeholders from the medical community, small business community, insurance industry, and associations representing patients to develop a blueprint for an online health insurance marketplace where small businesses and individuals can compare and purchase health insurance plans. The marketplace would encourage competition among insurers, driving down costs and helping Montanans to make informed decisions about their health care.