On Thursday the head of Montana’s health department will speak publicly about recent deep budget cuts. She’ll be on a panel with state lawmakers that a progressive political group in Helena is hosting.
The Department of Public Health and Human Services saw its budget cut roughly $49 million over the last year and a half amid state budgeting issues and a projected revenue shortfall.
The group ‘Our Revolution Helena’, inspired by the political work of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, is hosting the forum about the budget cuts and what they meant for healthcare services in Montana.
Frank Kromkowski is a member of the group and the moderator of the forum.
“We hope people will learn about the extent of those cuts, and then the steps that are in place to try to restore some of those cuts.”
Some, but not all of the health department’s budget cuts were restored earlier this year. Kromkowski says the forum will also discuss ballot issue 185, which proposes raising taxes on tobacco and vaping products to raise money for part of the state’s cost for expanding Medicaid.
The panelists listed for the event are all supportive of I-185, and the event does not include any opponents of the initiative, although Kromkowski says opponents were invited.
The forum titled ‘The Funding Crisis in Montana For Essential Health and Human Services’ will start at 7 p.m. Thursday evening in Helena, in the DPHHS building auditorium.