HELENA – Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte said Tuesday he remains opposed to the American Health Care Act of 2017 now working its way through Congress, saying a better program is needed.

“Greg believes we need to repeal and replace Obamacare with an affordable solution that will protect Montanans with pre-existing conditions, lower premiums and preserve rural access,” his spokesman Shane Scanlon said.

The comment comes less than a week after the Republican high-tech entrepreneur from Bozeman was charged with misdemeanor assault after an incident with a reporter from The Guardian who had asked him for his views on the health care bill.

The question came on May 24, the same day the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Commission on Taxation released their report on ACHA, also known as House Resolution 1628.

On Thursday, Gianforte defeated Democrat Rob Quist and Libertarian Mark Wicks and won the race for the seat vacated by Republican Ryan Zinke, who became President Donald Trump’s secretary of the interior.

Gianforte’s spokesman said he had not changed his mind about the bill.

“Greg opposed the bill before and after seeing its impact he remains opposed,” Scanlon said.

He said Gianforte favors a program that allows people to buy insurance across state lines to increase competition and improve options, gives more flexibility in how packages are structured to allow Montanans to select health care plans that best meet their needs and addresses rising prescription drug prices and frivolous lawsuits that drive up health care costs. 

HR 1628, according to the Congressional Budget Office study, would reportedly leave 23 million more Americans without insurance by 2026 and leave others who have costly medical…