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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Gianforte Campaign Downplays Comments On American Health Care Act

Screen capture from the American Health Care Act website,
Screen capture from the American Health Care Act website,

Republican House Candidate Greg Gianforte’s campaign is downplaying his comments about the House healthcare bill that were secretly recorded and leaked to the media.

The New York Times says the comments were taped Thursday, “during a private conference call with Republican-leaning lobbyists in Washington.”

On Thursday Gianforte told Montana Public Radio he needs to learn more about the healthcare bill the House passed that day before he can say how he would have voted on it.

"I wasn’t privy to all the dialog in D.C., but it sounds like they’ve got something done, I look forward to studying it," Gianforte told MTPR.

Here’s what Gianforte told lobbyists the same day, according to the New York Times, via audio on the newspaper’s website:

"Sounds like we just passed a health care thing, which I’m thankful for, that we’re starting to repeal and replace. We’re going to have to peel back these regulations to make it easier.”

Democrat Rob Quist’s campaign was quick to jump on the leaked audio, saying, "Montanans want a congressman who’ll shoot straight, not a dishonest politician who says one thing to Montanans and another to the millionaires behind closed doors."

Greg Gianforte’s campaign told the Washington Examiner that he is not making inconsistent statements.

The paper quotes Gianforte Campaign Manager Brock Lowrance saying, “Greg's thankful we are in the process of repealing Obamacare, because he believes we must repeal and replace Obamacare before it collapses. But he couldn't have voted for a bill without knowing what is in it and how it effects Montanans."

Montana Public radio has requested an interview with Greg Gianforte on the House health care bill.

On Friday we interviewedRob Quist about how he would fix the Affordable Care Act, which he says should not be repealed, but does need fixing.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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