MTPR

Gov. Bullock Confident In Reauthorization Of Medicaid, Says It Subsidizes Businesses

Dec 21, 2018

Montana Governor Steve Bullock says Medicaid expansion has bipartisan support going into the 2019 legislative session, and is confident it will pass.

Bullock spoke with the Community News Service Thursday about his priorities for the session, focusing on funding for preschool programs, infrastructure and Medicaid. He says it’s time for legislators to focus on not only on those who need the healthcare program, but all who benefit.

“We’ve always viewed this as, well we're taking care of you know people in lower income, but it’s about time we actually start talking about what we’re doing is we're subsidizing businesses that either can’t or won’t pay their employees enough to have healthcare.”

Bullock has proposed new taxes to pay for the expansion program. He says the failure of I-185, which would have enacted a tobacco tax to pay for the program, was not indicative of whether or not Montanans support Medicaid, but was an effort by the tobacco industry to protect profits.

Medicaid expansion passed in 2015 with Democratic and moderate Republican support. The bill that did that ends expansion in June unless lawmakers vote to re-authorize it. Bullock says he hopes the legislature can build on the progress made then, and that Montanans expect lawmakers to “come together to get this passed.”