I recently read an article about Montana hospitals having to choose between getting Medicare reimbursements and complying with a new Montana law, the only one in the country at the time of this writing that prohibits employers and health care facilities from requiring their workers to be vaccinated against coronavirus.

House Bill 702, sponsored by Republican Jennifer Carlson of Manhattan, is a misguided law that puts patients, workers, and visitors at risk. Scientific information, plain common sense, and a grasp of reality seem to have escaped Carlson and her Republican colleagues, including Gov. Gianforte, who signed this bill into law.

This is political grandstanding, plain and simple. Let's put our political careers ahead of public health! Great idea! Since this bill was enacted, over 800 Montanans have died of COVID. Brilliant! I hope and pray that Montana hospitals will defy this ridiculous state bill and comply with federal regulations. Losing Medicare reimbursements would shut down our hospitals. Does anyone really believe this is a good thing?

In 2022, we will have an opportunity to replace these crazies, including Jennifer Carlson, with legislators who actually care about their constituents. Montanans deserve legislators who put their needs first. That's what public service is all about. Our state needs legislators who put the needs of Montanans, as well as Montana's businesses, ahead of their political ambitions. Montana does not need a Marjorie Taylor Greene wannabe. We deserve better.

Deborah Hansen


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