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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Montana Lawmakers Block Medicaid Provider Rate Cuts

Medicaid logo.

Montana lawmakers are saying the state health department is making deeper than authorized cuts to rates doctors get paid via Medicaid.

Members of the Children, Families Health and Human Services Interim Committee said Wednesday that state lawmakers only authorized a one percent cut to health care provider pay when they passed a triggered budget-cutting law this spring.

They voted 7-1 to tell the Department of Public Health and Human Services that it has failed to give reasonable details about how it came up with the proposed 3.47 percent cut to Medicaid provider pay.

Beth Brenneman, staff attorney with Disability Rights Montana, told lawmakers that the health department isn't providing clear information about this situation.  

"There is no information at all for these providers as to what kind of impact they are going to be experiencing," says Brenneman.

Lawmakers also say the department has not fully considered how reducing Medicaid provider rates will impact Medicaid services.

The committee’s objection blocks DPHHS from reducing provider rates until after the 2019 legislative session, unless the Department issues a new rate change proposal. These cuts are not currently on the table for next week’s special legislative session, as lawmakers and Governor Steve Bullock try to fill a $227 budget gap.

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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