The Medicaid Expansion Bill has passed the Montana Senate after a third reading and vote. At this time, the House of Representatives will pick up the bill. This bill would bring $6.5 billion dollars to Montana, cost approximately $5 million dollars to set up, and according to a University of Montana study, bring 12,000-14,000 jobs to Montana. It is estimated all 9500 veterans without health insurance and their families would be covered.
Kelley Evans, CEO of Beartooth Billings Clinic (BBC) in Red Lodge had said the expansion would give coverage to 26 percent of local population under 65. She added, “All of us are stakeholders in the Medicaid Expansion and Reform policy debate. This bill would offer basic health coverage for our family, friends, Veterans, neighbors and the employees of small business. I encourage all to contact Representative Blyton and Senator Priest in support.”
Dr. William George, BBC Medical Director had said the costs of emergency care would be reduced by allowing those who most use the services to deal preventatively with their issues reducing costs and premiums for those already insured.
According to Governor Bullock, the money will go elsewhere and we will still have to pay for supporting other states if it is not accepted. A prior bill in the House recommended study which would have killed the right to the $6.5 billion since it must begin next year or will be lost. The bill was narrowly passed in the Senate.