Your loved ones' healthcare is on the ballot

The Montana Standard

October 22, 2020

I'm Raph Graybill, and I’m running to be an independent watchdog as Montana’s next attorney general.

I’m a fifth-generation Montanan from Great Falls and the son of a Lutheran minister. I’m a proud product of Great Falls Public Schools and served alongside the NYPD. I now serve as Gov. Bullock’s chief legal counsel, where I have the honor of fighting for you in court to protect our rights and values.

I’ve gone to court and won to protect public access. I’ve beaten the federal government in court when they broke the law, and took on dark money groups trying to buy our elections. Recently, I defended our right to vote-by-mail in this election, to keep Montanans safe. But there’s another legal battle on the horizon.

In the attorney general’s race, your health care is on the ballot. There’s an extremist lawsuit before the Supreme Court that could rip away your health care and eliminate protections for Montanans with preexisting conditions. My opponent, Austin Knudsen, says the whole reason he’s running is to join that lawsuit. I’m running to stop it.

Knudsen’s extremist lawsuit would be catastrophic. Think about the people you love. Did they survive cancer? Do they struggle with heart disease, diabetes or their weight? Does someone you love struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol, or struggle with their mental health?

These are preexisting conditions.

If Knudsen wins, insurance companies could use the struggles of your loved ones as an excuse to deny them health care. It’s profoundly unfair. It’s not how we treat families in Montana. But Knudsen and his corporate backers want to eliminate these protections for preexisting conditions and give power to insurance companies.

I’ve traveled all across Montana meeting with families, doctors, nurses and health care leaders about what will happen to our communities if Knudsen’s lawsuit succeeds. In Havre, the local hospital would close one-third of its beds. Just up the road in Chinook, the clinic would face certain closure just like every rural hospital in Montana.

In Missoula, health care leaders say they will lose investments in mental health and substance abuse treatment. And they’ll lose their life-saving Level II Trauma centers. Let that sink in. When every second counts, Knudsen’s extremist lawsuit would force Montanans to fly to Idaho or Washington because they can’t receive care in Montana.

That’s why I’m fighting to stop this lawsuit: to protect our health care and protect the people we love.

But we won’t stop there. As attorney general, I’ll hold pharmaceutical corporations accountable in court for price gouging on prescription drugs — putting money back in your pockets. I’ll also work to get at the root causes of crime — like addiction and mental health — to solve these challenges before they become costly public safety problems.

Knudsen doesn’t know how to fight for Montanans. He’s never been to the U.S. Supreme Court or the Montana Supreme Court. As Bullock’s Chief Legal Counsel, I’ve defended Montanans in both courts, and won. Shockingly, Knudsen’s only plan is to defund law enforcement at the Montana Department of Justice, which will only make Montana less safe.

What’s more shameful, Knudsen is personally blocking a group of veterans from accessing the American Legion Park in Culbertson. He’s even suing these veterans to take away access forever. It’s wrong, and it tells Montanans everything they need to know about the kind of attorney general he’ll be.

I’m running to be an independent watchdog for our rights. Knudsen is running to be an extremist, partisan lapdog, blindly pursuing an extremist agenda to rip away health care from the people we love. I ask for your trust and your vote this election.