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As a conservative Republican primary candidate this past summer, I described what I viewed as a divided Republican caucus. One of the first votes this session will be in regard to house rules. In a few weeks, a minority group of our Republican caucus may vote with the Democratic Party to overturn decades of legislative precedent. If or when this possible future occurs, the divided Republican caucus will weaken our bargaining power to kill bad bills in committee. To the conservative voters of our state, take note of which legislators vote with the Democratic Party to change the rules.

The main debate this session is and will be Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion is one of the primary reasons why the Democratic Party wants to change the House rules. If the Democratic Party were in the majority, I can assure you they would never vote to change the rules. We as a state can afford the program as it stands today, I understand the argument. Keep in mind, however, Obamacare imploded prices and punished the individual paying for private health insurance all their lives. The Affordable Care Act turned out to not be affordable, that was an easy outcome to predict. More socialism is bad for price discovery and mutually beneficial outcomes.

The law is being challenged on constitutional grounds in court currently. The future of our health care industry is uncertain nationally. Our state can afford Medicaid expansion at these unrealistic funding schedules only because we pay 10 percent (roughly) of the overall program's cost. I don’t believe more government-mandated socialism with the taxpayers' money is a long-term solution and I frankly don’t think it is good leadership. Montana will most likely pass Medicaid expansion this session; it is a temporary solution to a nationwide failure in leadership.

To lower our healthcare prices, nationwide regulatory rules need to allow more free-market solutions for people who can pay on-demand in cash and/or through their own personal tax-free health savings accounts administered by you, the individual. We need more competition between insurers. not less; more plans and options, not less. The private family doctor, practitioner or nurse has its place in an effective healthcare economy. A century ago our healthcare industry was run through hospitals owned in private by groups of believers in Jesus and other charity-like organizations. We ought to encourage our society to resurrect this model of health care. Private small systems run by engaged individuals will produce better outcomes for more people long-term.

Our current governor vetoed a private healthcare law for private practices submitted through Matt Rosendale’s office and the Republican Party. I don’t understand that veto and find it to be political in nature. The politics of perpetually more taxes and centralized redistribution are rather dull.

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Rep. David Dunn, R-Whitefish, represents House District 9 in the Montana Legislature. 

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