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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

More than 24,000 kids have lost Medicaid coverage in Montana since April

A new report from the Montana health department shows nearly half of people who’ve lost Medicaid coverage in the state since April are children.

The state Department of Public Health and Human Services says more than 24,000 kids have been removed from Medicaid in Montana as of August. That includes children who were no longer eligible for the service, as well as those who were procedurally disenrolled because the state didn’t receive requested information.

Missoula Democratic Rep. SJ Howell is on the legislative committee that requested the information from the health department. Howell called the number “devastating,” and expressed frustration with the state for choosing not to slow down or pause Medicaid case reviews.

“It is frustrating to see solutions that would improve the experience of Motnanans in this moment being immediately off the table,” Howell told MTPR in a phone interview.

States nationwide are reviewing Medicaid recipients' eligibility for the first time since the start of the pandemic, as required by the federal government. Montana data show | that of those who have been disenrolled so far, more than 60% lost health coverage due to paperwork problems or failure to send in eligibility information.

The health department has previously defended its handling of Medicaid case reviews, saying it’s following the rules and procedures laid out by federal officials. MTPR did not hear from the department by deadline.

Austin graduated from the University of Montana’s journalism program in May 2022. He came to MTPR as an evening newscast intern that summer, and jumped at the chance to join full-time as the station’s morning voice in Fall 2022.

He is best reached by emailing
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