Montana Public Radio

Obamacare

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down ACA Mandate

Dec 19, 2019

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People on Medicaid who work rural seasonal jobs in Montana are wondering about the future of their access to health coverage. Montana recently passed a law that, if it gains federal approval and goes into effect as planned in January, would require many Medicaid recipients to prove they work a set number of hours each month.

Average Monthly Premiums for Second-Lowest Cost Silver Plan in Montana 2016-2019.
Data from: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, https://go.cms.gov/2Jp5SkE

Next year, premiums for individual health insurance plans in Montana will go down for the first time since the Affordable Care Act took effect. Open enrollment starts Friday.

The roughly 50,000 Montanans who receive health coverage in the Affordable Care Act marketplace could see their premium bills drop by hundreds or thousands of dollars next year.

The fate of the Affordable Care Act is again on the line Tuesday, as a federal appeals court in New Orleans takes up a case in which a lower court judge has already ruled the massive health law unconstitutional.

Former State Rep. Austin Knudsen has announced his candidacy for Attorney General in the 2020 race.
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

Former Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen announced Monday that he is seeking the Republican nomination for Montana’s Attorney General race in 2020.

Knudsen served as a representative from Culbertson in the state Legislature from 2011 to 2017, serving as Speaker of the House during his last four years. He’s the second Republican to enter the Attorney General race.

Tonight on Capitol Talk: The state budget sails through the Legislature; Gov. Bullock says he's "skeptical" about the "save Colstrip" bill; a Colstrip senator launches a vitriolic video slamming press coverage of the Colstrip bill; Attorney General Tim Fox opposes ending Obamacare; and three more candidates enter the races for governor and U.S. House. 

Today's action at the state Legislature notched up tension over one of the 2019 legislative session’s biggest debates. This morning a group of conservative Republicans voted to stall in a committee the bill to continue Medicaid expansion in the state.

Indian Health Service logo.
Indian Health Service / IHS

Native American health advocates are worried the legal battle over the Affordable Care Act will end significant gains for Indian health care.

They say if the Obama-era healthcare act is dismantled, that would also strip away laws that provide funding for tribal health care.

Republicans have campaigned for years on the promise of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, but this year many are promising to keep protections for pre-existing conditions, which are popular with voters, even though many have actively tried to dismantle former President Obama’s health law.

Sally Mauk: Welcome to 'Campaign Beat,' our weekly political analysis program. I'm Sally Mauk and I'm joined by University of Montana Political Science Professor Rob Saldin and veteran Capitol Reporter Chuck Johnson.

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