BILLINGS - A week before lawmakers return to Washington D.C., both sides gear up for the fight on health care reform. For the past 30 days, the three members of Montana's congressional delegation have visited and shared ideas with various groups on health care reform. The meetings and discussions come during a month-long congressional break. However, lawmakers are due back in D.C. in September and with that a possible vote on fundamental changes to the nation's health care system. During the last month, Senator Jon Tester has visited a lot with medical professionals hoping to learn more about their opinion on reform. Tester says, "when we get back come September when we get a bill out and end up with a document we can talk about because we will know what's in it we can bring these ideas to the table then." Senator Max Baucus surprised customers at a local Hardees answering questions and listening to their thoughts. Baucus is a key player in drafting new health care legislation but is still up in the air whether a public option is the way to go. Baucus says, "an awful lot of this is what can get us the strongest healthcare reform that can also get us 60 votes in the senate." Montana's lone republican in Congress Denny Rehberg has visited close to two-dozen counties on a listening tour. The number one topic is health care reform. Rehberg believes the industry needs some reform, but he says this is not the plan. Rehberg says, "I don't see why you would want to move to a system when we haven't fixed the fundamental problems and deficiencies. I use Medicare as an example, it provides a wonderful service to our seniors but its not paid for and its anticipated to go broke by 2017." With congressional leaders returning to Washington in a week, both sides are expected to turn up the heat in an already fierce debate. Currently there are several health care reform bills floating around the house. Senator Baucus is expected to write a bill that could hit the Senate floor in September or October.
/ Source: KULR-TV