MTPR

Medicaid

Sen. Diane Sands (D) - Missoula
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

A group of Democratic state lawmakers say budget cuts to the state health department have created a public health emergency. They delivered a letter to legislative leaders and the governor Tuesday asking for emergency funding. 

Hospital monitor.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

The hundreds of millions of federal tax dollars that Medicaid expansion is bringing to Montana have added thousands of jobs here and significantly boosted the state’s economy. It’s enough of a boost to pay for Montana’s share of the jointly-funded health program.

That’s according to a new report by Economist Bryce Ward with the UM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. He summarized it for a legislative oversight committee Thursday.

Ongoing budget cuts mean the State of Montana has ended a contract that paid a big health insurance company $6 million a year to manage Medicaid recipients. That’s more than twice as much as it allocates to the state health department for similar work.

Jennifer Munger holds a sign protesting state health deparment cuts in Helena, March 1, 2018. Munger says she's recently sober and wants other people with substance abuse issues to be able to get the same treatment she had.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Access to mental health services and addiction treatment, something that has never been great in Montana, could see a significant funding reduction next month as the state health department reduces its substance disorder services.

"If I wouldn’t have had that I probably wouldn’t be alive today. They saved my life," Jennifer Munger says.

Vicki LaFond-Smith, mother of two sons with disabilities, Beth Brennaman, staff attorney with Disability Rights Montana, and Jackie Mohler, staff at Family Outreach at a Helena, MT press conference on Health Department Funding,  Monday, February 26, 2018.
Corin

A group of disability rights advocates are calling on Governor Steve Bullock to immediately backfill some of the more than $49 million in cuts to the state health department made during the special legislative session last year. But, the governor’s office says it doesn’t have the power to do that.

Two healthcare groups plan to ask Montana voters to continue the state’s Medicaid expansion in November, and to fund it with a higher tax on tobacco .

The Montana Hospital Association and the American Heart Association filed ballot language today.

Liberty Place in Whitehall, MT provides homes and life training skills for people who live with brain injuries.
Corin Cates-Carney

Montana ranks among the top three states in the nation per capita for traumatic brain injuries, according to industry workers and advocacy groups. Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, include strokes, brain infections, or a hit to the head that causes brain damage. 

Health Department Outlines Cuts To Services For Special Needs Kids
Corin Cates-Carney

The state health department is taking the next step to chip away at $49 million in budget cuts. That’s how much Governor Steve Bullock and state lawmakers told the department it had to reduce expenses at the end November’s special legislative session, in order to balance the state budget after lower than expected tax revenues last year.

More than 40 people came to the DPHHS hearing on Medicaid cuts Feb. 1, 2018 in Helena.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

The Montana health department faced blistering public comment Thursday on their plan to cut more than $12 million from Medicaid services. Governor Steve Bullock and state lawmakers reduced funding to most state agencies to balance the state’s budget.

The roughly $12 million is part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ continuing work to cut $49 million in spending. That’s more than more than 4.5 percent of its general fund budget.

Thompson Falls resident Amanda Childers testified before a legislative committee Thursday about how the job training component of Montana's expanded Medicaid program put her on a path to a career in health care.
Eric Whitney

Last week the Trump administration made a historic change to Medicaid, the health coverage program that’s jointly funded by the states and federal government. For the first time, states were given the OK to require Medicaid recipients to work in exchange for health coverage.

Republican lawmakers tried to do that in Montana 2015, but the Obama administration said no.

Pages