Kathy Kelker

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lobbyists were involved in drafting or revising opinion columns about health care written by state lawmakers in Montana and Ohio, officials said.

Lobbyists were involved in producing the final versions of articles warning of the dangers of Medicare-for-all and other government involvement in health care, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Percentage of public and private school students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade with a religious exemption to required vaccines, Montana 2017–2018 academic year.
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

State lawmakers took up several bills dealing with vaccinations against preventable diseases Monday. The bills would expand immunization exemptions in daycares and foster homes in Montana.

The same day, a fifth suspected case of measles was reported in Oregon, related to an outbreak of dozens of measles cases in Washington state.

The Sunburst office in Eureka
sunburstfoundation.org

The state health department is figuring out how to restore funding to health care providers who take Medicaid, but it may be too late for people in Libby and Eureka who need help with mental health.

"I don’t think we’ll be able to keep those offices open," Megan Bailey, a therapist with Sunburst Mental Health told a legislative committee Monday.

Sheila Hogan is director of Montana's Department of Public Health and Human Services.
State of Montana

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The head of the state health department says child protection workers in Billings are facing "crisis level caseloads" leading the Division of Child and Family Services to decide to close its Livingston office and move that office's caseworker jobs to Billings.

A group of state lawmakers on Thursday lifted a block on cuts to how much Montana pays doctors and other health professionals who serve Medicaid patients.


State lawmakers are considering a plan to lift a block on nearly $7 million in state budget cuts.

In November, an interim legislative committee put a hold on a cut passed this year to the amount the state pays healthcare providers who take Medicaid. Now, some members of that committee want to lift that hold, meaning the pay cut would take place immediately, instead of in 2019.

(PD)

State lawmakers want to know more about why the cost of health care keeps rising, and make it easier for Montanans to know the prices for health care procedures up front. The state Legislature says that’s a top priority ahead of the next legislative session.

A group lawmakers, healthcare and insurance representatives charged with studying health care costs and price transparency met for the first time at the capitol Tuesday.

(PD)

Montana lawmakers are making plans to research statewide health concerns ahead of the next legislative session. But those plans could be upended this summer depending on actions in Washington D.C. amid the Trump administration’s push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Montana Lawmakers Push Bills On Health Costs, Transparency

Apr 17, 2017
Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Congress may be undecided about former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, but Montana lawmakers are pushing through legislation they believe will bring down health care costs and increase price transparency regardless of what happens in Washington.

A half-dozen measures were still alive as the 2017 legislative session enters its final days. They include authorizing a high-risk insurance pool, allowing out-of-state insurers to sell policies in Montana, better informing patients about health care prices and giving tax credits to small companies that offer high-deductible plans to their employees.

Montana Capitol, Helena, MT.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

A bill entering the Montana House of Representatives Monday would create a voluntary preschool program for four-year-olds from lower income families.

House Bill 563, or the Montana Preschool Grant Program, would give children who qualify access to what Rep. Kathy Kelker, D-Billings, says is high quality preschool education.

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