"Yesterday regular Montanans won a life-changing victory. Those who have fallen through the cracks of our health-care system will be able to get coverage, and those who are currently covered can be secure in knowing that their health care decisions can now be made in their own homes, not insurance company boardrooms."

- Jim Elliott, chairman of the Montana Democratic Party:

"Montana Republican legislators are committed to working with Congressman Rehberg and other Republicans in Congress to repeal this risky legislation. Additionally, we will work on the state level to protect Montanans from the harmful consequences of this bill."

- Sen. Jeff Essmann, R-Billings, and chair of the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee

"We are concerned that the increase in taxes may impact Montana unequally. And the law, as passed, would do very little to bend the cost curve of health care downward. ... Overall, we are working to make this complex health-care reform law impact Montanans in a manner that makes common sense."

- Sherry Cladouhos, chief executive officer, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Montana

"As much as we would like to join the celebration of the House's passage of the health bill, in good conscience we cannot. ... Instead of eliminating the root of the problem - dASH - the profit-driven, private health insurance industry - DASH - this costly new legislation will enrich and further entrench these firms."

-Oliver Fein, president, Physicians for a National Health Program

"This is an incredible victory for Montanans. I was denied health care when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Finally, people will no longer have to fight the insurance company while they fight their illness."

-Melissa Armington, a 30-year-old mother of five in Billings

"The job is not finished. The Senate must act quickly to pass key changes enacted by the House. Most importantly, these changes include a measure to close the dreaded gap in Medicare drug coverage known as the `doughnut hole.' The Senate must seize this opportunity to ensure that no one in Medicare is ever again forced to split pills in half or go without the medicines they need."

-Bob Bartholomew, state director of AARP Montana.


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