House passes bill to limit Medicaid coverage for abortions
The Montana House of Representatives has advanced a bill to limit Medicaid coverage of abortions for low-income patients.
The House passed the bill mostly along party lines and it will now advance to the state Senate. The bill would require patients to obtain prior authorization and proof of medical necessity to get coverage to terminate a pregnancy. An administrative rule with almost identical language is also being considered by the state health department.
A Montana Supreme Court precedent says the state must cover the cost of abortion services through state insurance when “medically necessary,” which is broader than the set of circumstances requiring the federal government to cover abortion.
The state reports Medicaid covering roughly 650 abortions in 2022.
Proponents of limiting coverage say it’s important that taxpayer dollars only be used in limited circumstances for abortion. Opponents say the bill will disproportionately impact low-income Montanans, and could prevent some from receiving the care they’re entitled to under state law.