Senate Votes to Help Students with Health Insurance

Posted on February 22, 2011



HELENA – The state Senate showed overwhelming support Tuesday for a bill that could save students money on health insurance.

Sen. Taylor Brown, R-Huntley, boasted that his Senate Bill 280 is the best bill of the session.

“Students at all campuses are required to have insurance coverage,” he said. “It lowers the cost of health care, helps kids and lowers the cost of education. What’s not to love?”

The bill authorizes the Commissioner of Higher Education to establish a state-managed health insurance program for college students that could save students money by not having them subsidize more risky, generally older clients.

No one spoke in opposition of the bill and Sens. Ryan Zinke, R-Whitefish, and Cliff Larsen, D-Missoula, spoke in support of it.

“This really is the best bill I’ve seen so far, given everything else,” Larsen said.

Only Sen. Dave Lewis, R-Helena, voted against the measure.

“It authorizes the Board of Regents to sell bonds to fund this thing,” Lewis said.  “A pool funded with borrowed money seemed a little risky to me.”

But Lewis did not notice the authorization to sell bonds until Brown was making closing remarks just before the vote.

“I didn’t have the chance to ask the sponsor and decided to just vote ‘No,’” Lewis said.

Posted in: Daily Grind