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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Officials Will Meet For Medicaid Expansion Progress Report

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio
Montana Capitol

Tuesday health care officials and lawmakers are meeting in the capitol for a progress report on Medicaid expansion in Montana. Montana’s expansion, also known as the HELP Act, was signed into law just under a year ago.

Tuesday’s meeting is the first time a special committee created to oversee Medicaid expansion in the state will talk about it since it was rolled out on January 1.

Montana Department of Health and Human Service Jessica Rhoades said,

“It has been an incredible two months for the program. We have enrollment just over 38,000 Montanans. So these Montanans are now able to get quality healthcare and access the care they have for so long been denied.”

Rhoades expects 45,000 people to sign up for coverage under the HELP ACT by 2020.

Starting that year, Montana will take on 10 percent of the burden of cost for the Medicaid expansion. Currently, it is 100 percent funded by federal dollars.

“So, there is a real benefit in having as many people as possible sign up as early as possible while that federal share is paying for 100 percent of the costs.”

Montana’s HELP Act was supported by Democrats and moderate Republicans. Lawmakers will need to give the Medicaid expansion their approval again in 2019, otherwise the law will expire.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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