Multiple Bills for Medicaid Expansion In Montana
On Saturday March 16th the Montana Legislative House Human Services Committee held the first hearings on Medicaid Expansion.
In 2018 the voters of Montana were asked to support I185 an initiative that would expand Medicaid, and remove the sunset on current law. The initiative also would have increased taxes on cigarettes in Montana. The people went to the polls and resoundingly voted down Medicaid Expansion.
Governor Bullock working within Democratic channels brought forward an effort to push Medicaid Expansion past the people in the 2019 Legislative session.
Representative Mary Caferro of Helena is carrying HB425 that will continue the existing program born under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
HB425 is an 8 page bill that will permanently bring forward a funding mechanism to Expand Medicaid costing over 7 million dollars the first year at the expense of taxpayers of Montana.
To the surprise of many in the Republican majority of the 66th Legislative session Representative Edward Buttery also brought forward HB658.
HB658 will make the medicaid expansion program permanent by repealing the termination of the Montana health and economic livelihood partnership act. The 45 page bill is under attack from both parties for different reasons.
Still to date there is no fiscal note attached to HB658 so the cost to the taxpayers is unknown.
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services is one of the largest departments in Montana State government dependent upon Medicaid Expansion. Growth of the department has outpaced funding over the past 2 years.
Many Montana Legislators are being asked by the voters to cut the size of the department due to overreach into most aspects of society. This would result in a reduction in employment affecting Helena economy.
The Democratic Bill HB425 found favorable support from multiple governmental departments and a high level of support from representatives from the multiple Indian Reservations here in Montana.
The voters of Montana will have until Friday March 22nd when the committee plans to take executive action on both bills. If the bills pass the committee, they will then go to the full house for a vote before being defeated or moved to the Montana Senate.
With the overall budget moving to the Senate, Representative Theresa Manzella and 3 other Republicans voted against HB2. Representative Manzella stated: “This budget will represent more than 10% growth over the last biennium, and includes 550 million for the faulty Medicaid projection figures, which we missed by 50%” Many citizens are pleased to see a handful of representatives like Mrs. Manzella working for the people.
We are pleased to see a handful of representatives Like Mrs. Manzella working for the people.
The committee members can be contacted by visiting the Legislative committee page. There the representatives can be individually contacted to see how they will vote on the bills.
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