One of the more arresting aspects of the health-care debate is how really little the U.S. Congress seems to care about the folks who voted them into the good life here in Washington, D.C.  They have truly forgotten the people back home. Max Baucus, whose name is on the Senate bill, is the perfect example.

Now three of his fellow Montanans, Tom McGillvray, Cary Smith, and Gary MacLaren, all three members of the Montana House of Representatives, who have served on the state’s House Health and Human Services Committee, have penned an editorial telling just how out-of-touch with Montana Baucus is:

Montana is one of a growing number of states that are turning away from the failed policies of health “reform” via bigger government, higher taxes and worsening patient care. Baucus didn’t need to look farther than his own backyard to know that Montanans want choice and competition in health care — not the heavy hand of government.

Instead, Baucus produced his own legislation — which passed the Senate Finance Committee in October — rife with burdensome new regulations, massive government expansion and crippling tax hikes. And it’s a bill that thwarts his state’s efforts to ensure access to quality, affordable health coverage.

Montanans want, and deserve, the freedom to choose the health care that’s right for them. Instead, the Baucus bill imposes a requirement that all citizens purchase government-approved health insurance riddled with expensive, special-interest mandates.

If you like the health insurance you have, Baucus probably won’t let you keep it.

I get the impression that senators are more concerned than what their friends in Congress think of them than of what the people at home think. That is a good reason to send them home.

A few more words from the Montanans:

Montanans know a massive, unfunded Medicaid expansion means higher bills for taxpayers and lower-quality care for beneficiaries. Instead, the Baucus bill will increase our Medicaid rolls by nearly 80 percent and put 63,000 more Montanans on government-funded health care. To pay for the privilege, we’ll be subjected to new taxes on health plans, medical devices and prescriptions.

Now that the job-killing, premium-hiking, care-rationing House health reform bill moves to the Senate, our senior senator faces a big decision. Will Baucus side with the real Montana, a state that values ownership, choice, competition and limited government? Or will he again succumb to Big Government Beltway insiders?

We don’t know the answer — and that’s why we’re taking steps to preserve and protect the rights of Montanans to make their own health care choices.

Last week, Montana became the 20th state to draft the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act, a state constitutional amendment that protects individuals, employers and health care providers from being forced to participate in any health care system and preserves individuals’ right to pay directly for care — something not allowed in single-payer countries like Canada.

The stakes are high, with nearly one in seven Montanans uninsured.

That’s why it’s not enough just to protect patients’ rights. We must also work to build a vibrant, private health insurance market and encourage individual ownership of health insurance. And Montanans know that health reform shouldn’t be the job of just Baucus and his friends in Congress.