Montana Public Radio

Montana Republicans Release Their Medicaid Expansion Proposal

Mar 12, 2019

Republicans’ long-awaited proposal to modify and continue Montana’s Medicaid expansion program was introduced Tuesday in the state Legislature.

Rep. Ed Buttrey’s bill would make permanent the state’s health coverage program for low-income adults — along with making some major changes.

The bill released Tuesday would require some Medicaid expansion enrollees to perform 80 hours of, "community engagement activities each month."

Those activities can include a job, a workforce training program, seeking behavioral health or substance use disorder treatment, community services, schooling, and a few other options. The state would check-up on a sample of Medicaid recipients to verify their participation.

Critics of the idea say it will lead to tens of thousands of Montanans getting dropped from health coverage.

Buttrey and Republican leaders have called for enrollees to have, "skin in the game" along with more accountability within the program.

Democrats have offered their own bill to keep the expansion program going at status quo, with additional funding in a currently optional workforce training program.

Both proposals to continue the expansion past it’s upcoming sunset in June are scheduled for their first public hearings this Saturday.