Montana Public Radio

I-185

Updated and expanded 6:40 p.m.

A bill to continue Montana’s Medicaid expansion program has passed a critical vote in the Senate by a one vote margin. The  26-24 vote Monday afternoon lifted House Bill 658 from its multi-day stall ahead of a Tuesday deadline for bills to pass. That means the bill faces one more Senate vote Tuesday.

Hospital monitor.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

A Medicaid expansion policy with new requirements for some low-income adults enrolled in the program passed its first major vote today on the Montana House floor.

The so-called Medicaid Reform and Integrity Act cleared the initial vote 61-39, despite objections from the Republican majority leadership. 

Nearly 23 percent of Montana high school students use electronic cigarette type products, according to the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey from the Montana Office of Public Instruction.
(PD)

Montana high schoolers are using electronic cigarettes more than their peers across the country. The state health department highlighted e-cigarette risks today as the Bullock administration and health care advocates push for a new tax on e-cigarettes.

Montana Hospitals Agree To Help Fund Medicaid Expansion

Feb 8, 2019
Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs.
Courtesy Montana State Hospital

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana hospitals have agreed to pay a fee to help fund Medicaid expansion as the state's share of the cost of the health care coverage increases, an official with the Montana Hospital Association said Thursday.

Proposed E-Cig Tax Draws Opposition

Jan 22, 2019
Senate Bill 96 proposes a 50-percent tax on vaping products.
iStock

HELENA — Opponents are lining up against a proposed 50-percent tax on vaping products.

Twelve people testified against Senate Bill 96 on Tuesday. They argued e-cigarettes have nicotine, but they don’t have tobacco and shouldn’t be taxed like tobacco. Robert Story, executive director of the Montana Taxpayers Association, said taxing vapes is just putting a sales tax onto a specific retail item.

Gov. Steve Bullock.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Montana Governor Steve Bullock says Medicaid expansion has bipartisan support going into the 2019 legislative session, and is confident it will pass.

Montanas Against Tax Hikes' campaign to vote no on I-185.
Montanans Against Tax Hikes

Updated at 4:45 p.m.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The $26.1 million campaign over whether to keep Montana's Medicaid expansion program alive by hiking the state's tobacco taxes was the most expensive ballot issue in Montana since at least 2002, and likely in state history, according to reports. 

Governor Steve Bullock announced his budget priorities for the upcoming 2019 legislative session, Thursday, November 15. Bullock was joined by Lt. Governor Mike Cooney (left) and Montana Budget Director Tom Livers (right).
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Governor Steve Bullock released his draft state budget and priorities for the upcoming legislative session Thursday. At the top of the list: Re-authorizing Medicaid expansion.

“There’s too much at stake to not keep Medicaid expansion going in Montana,” Bullock says.

Montana’s Medicaid expansion provides health coverage to just over 96,000 people, and it’s set to expire next June.

Ads about I-185 from Montanans Against Tax Hikes and Healthy Montana.
Montana Public Radio

With nearly all Montana precincts reporting, 53 percent of voters opposed a proposal to increase the state’s tobacco tax.  Forty-seven percent supported it.

I-185 was the single most expensive ballot initiative in Montana history. Final fundraising tallies aren’t in yet, but tobacco companies poured more than $17 million into Montana this election season to defeat Initiative-185. That’s more than twice as much cash as the initiative’s supporters were able to muster. Most of that money came from the Montana Hospital Association.

Updated at 9 a.m. Check our Live Election Results for the most up to date information.

Not all of Montana's precincts have fully reported this morning so in some cases we don't know much more than we did by the time many people went to bed last night.

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