MTPR

Amanda Cahill


The latest fundraising reports show that opponents of the ballot initiative proposing increasing Montana’s tobacco tax boosted contributions by $7.7 million in August. That’s nearly eight times what the campaign supporting the ballot issue raised in the same period.

Groups in support of I-185 held a press conference across from the Capitol in Helena Wednesday, August 22, 2018.
Corin Cates-Carney

A fight backed by hospitals and tobacco companies over an initiative that will appear on Montana ballots this November has amassed more than $2 million. 

Ballot Initiative 185 asks voters to raise taxes on all tobacco products, and for the first time tax e-cigarettes and vaping products, to fund health programs, including the state’s Medicaid expansion.

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The committee that oversees Montana’s Medicaid expansion is expected to recommend that it continue beyond its 2019 sunset date.

A draft document released Friday suggests expansion has helped nine percent more adults who are eligible for Medicaid join the workforce in Montana. It also says six percent more of Medicaid eligible adults with disabilities are joining the workforce.

Montana lawmakers voted to expand Medicaid here in 2015 in part because the bill doing so included incentives to help those receiving the health coverage to get jobs, or better paying jobs.