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Regarding how to improve our country's health care system, we must consider how any proposal would affect small businesses and the millions of Americans they employ. As a small business owner, I know that a new government-controlled health insurance system like Medicare for All or the public option is absolutely the wrong way to go. Instead, we must build on what works within our current health care system while making care more affordable.

Medicare for All would increase federal spending by $32 trillion in its first decade alone resulting in huge tax hikes on hardworking Americans.

Even the supposed "moderate" alternative of the public option would result higher costs for taxpayers. Middle-class Americans, including small business owners, cannot afford a steep increase in costs, especially now.

Not only would the public option or Medicare for All cost us more, research shows that either system would lead to lower-quality care and longer wait times.

In Montana, we need access to affordable, high-quality health care.

Instead of turning to unaffordable new government-controlled health insurance systems, lawmakers should protect our employer-provided coverage, build and improve on what is working today, and focus on making coverage and care more affordable.

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Scott Mendenhall 

Bozeman