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The latest Montana politics, elections and Legislature news.

Bill Bars Governor From Expanding Medicaid Through Executive Action

Medicaid logo.

A Montana House Committee Monday took up a bill that could provide a preview of the coming debate on Medicaid expansion.

Freshman Republican Matthew Monforton, from Bozeman, is pushing a bill that would bar the governor from setting up a healthcare exchange or expanding Medicaid without the legislature’s approval.

"There are other states in which a governor has unilaterally imposed Medicaid expansion without the approval of the legislature, and in Montana we don’t think that’s appropriate," Monforton said.

But Amanda Harrow with the Montana Primary Care Association opposes the bill. She says executive action might be needed if the Supreme Court rules in favor of a lawsuit aimed at overturning the nationwide insurance exchange that Montana and 35 other states use as their health care marketplace.

"And our concern is that that could be a lengthy process, and that’s why we think that it is to our benefit to keep all options on the table."

Harrow says $93 million in tax credits for 24,000 Montanans are at risk. If this bill passes, and the Supreme Court overturns the nationwide insurance exchange, only the legislature could resolve the issue, possibly by calling a special session.