Congress should work like Montanans

The first news stories of each New Year usually feature people working around the clock to make our communities great. Routine coverage in-cludes the men and wom-en who protect our neigh-borhoods, maintain our roadways and make it possible to access health care at any time of the day or night. It’s a subtle re-minder that Montanans value their way of life and are working together to protect it.

Health care workers will continue to advance progress as the state’s largest labor force. They are the doctors and nurs-es who delivered the first babies after midnight, the therapists and counselors behind many resolutions and the emergency re-sponders who answered the after-hour calls for help. We trust them to perform life-saving proce-dures and provide high quality and compassion-ate care to our loved ones. Their teams run our hos-pitals and nursing homes and make house calls to support patients and caregivers.
They’re an essential partner in sustaining healthy and productive communities, and like their neighbors, they’re committed to getting the job done.
This past week, inac-tion in Congress led to the 19th government shut-down in modern histo-ry. It began over the weekend when lawmak-ers failed to approve a budget that funded the government bey

Imagine the disaster our state would be if we all demonstrated the same work ethic. There are good leaders in Wash-ington, but too often, the politics prevent progress.
Montanans need bi-partisan solutions that regain our trust and in-vest in the state long term. We need certainty that our government val-ues the contributions of health care workers and the individuals they care for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insur-ance Program (CHIP) is a good start, and we’re pleased the relief was included in this week’s funding deal. However, there is a lot of unfinished business that Congress must address in order to maintain access to health care in our rural state.
We’re not asking that they work around the clock, just that they agree to stop the uncertainty and start focusing on get-ting the job done.

Submitted by: Dick Brown, President/CEO, Montana Hospital Association