U.S. Representative Greg Gianforte held a telephone town hall meeting this week, taking questions from various callers about issues here in Montana.

One caller told Gianforte that his Affordable Care Act premiums have risen dramatically in the last year, and asked what relief may be in store in Congress.

“Obamacare has turned out to be a national disaster,” said Gianforte. “Obamacare has restricted choices and driven costs through the roof. We need to repeal and replace as quickly as possible. One of the things the House has done this year was pass medical malpractice reform. Following the tax cut bill, we’ll get back on a new healthcare bill first thing next year.”

Gianforte related the results of a survey of callers about the top issues in tax reform.

“Your number one issue was lower tax rates,” he said. “That’s good, because the tax cut bill has lower tax rates and everyone is going to get a break. The number two choice was keeping the property tax deduction. Up to $10,000 is preserved on the House side, and there will have to be some reconciliation between the two houses. I think tax reform is the most important way to help Montanans keep more of their hard-earned money.”

Finally, Gianforte addressed the issue of forest management in the face of last summer’s historic wildfire season.

“We’ve got 1.3 billion standing dead trees in Montana,” he said. “We burned 1.2 million acres this summer. I asked the chief of the Forest Service what we had to do in a salvage operation to get some logs going to our mills to create more jobs, and we'll have healthier forests. We don’t have a forest management problem, we have a litigation problem. Almost all forest management projects get litigated because of the Endangered Species Act or some other frivolous lawsuit from an environmental extremist.”

Gianforte is running for reelection in 2018 and there are numerous candidates anxious to replace him.

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