MTPR

Affordable Care Act

A new survey done by the University of Montana and Stanford University reveals some surprising opinions on health care in Montana. The statewide representative sample poll was done over landlines and cell phones in February in advance of a conference last week at UM.

Montana DPHHS

The special state committee set up to oversee Medicaid expansion in Montana got its first progress report since expansion began January 1.

"This is just incredible success we’re having," Marie Matthews with the state health department told the committee. "This program has already saved the state general fund about $3 million," she said.

Governor Bullock & Pam Bucy launching the HELP-Link program Feb. 08, 2015 in Great Falls.
Corin Cates-Carney

On Monday, the next phase of Montana’s Medicaid expansion was announced at a job service center in Great Falls. Expanding Medicaid under the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act was a hard sell to Montana Republicans in the 2015 legislature until Republican Senator Ed Buttrey introduced a workforce initiative into the healthcare bill, among other changes.

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Audio Pending...

Growing demand for healthcare means that Montana is going to need 40 percent more healthcare workers in a decade than it has now. That’s according to University of Montana Economist Bryce Ward. He says that just to meet the projected growth in demand, the state will need 7,000 more healthcare workers by 2025.

Get Answers To Your Health Insurance Questions

Jan 26, 2016
Montana Insurers Propose Rate Increases From 2 - 23 Percent
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The deadline for Obamacare enrollment is Sunday January, 31. Here is some helpful information, events, and resources for getting health insurance in Montana.

Sunday Is The Deadline For Obamacare Enrollment

Jan 26, 2016

  Sunday is the deadline to enroll for health insurance coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act for this year. Some Montanans might find out during this year’s enrollment they are now eligible for coverage under the state’s expanded Medicaid.

Monica Lindeen, commissioner of securities and insurance, and Democratic candidate for Montana secretary of state.
Courtesy Monica Lindeen

The deadline for buying 2016 health insurance through healthcare.gov is days away. And Montana’s Commissioner of Insurance warns that consumers should study up on the plan they’re thinking about buying, because the wrong plan could result in a fine.

Sen. Jon Tester
U.S. Senate

Senator Jon Tester asked to come by our studios this morning. He spoke with News Director Eric Whitney about the coal lease moratorium, veterans issues, dysfunction in congress, Obamacare, and more.


Billings Clinic purchased a 54 acre plot of land near I-90 in Bozeman last week.
Google Maps

Last week Billings Clinic announced that it has purchased 54 acres of land in Bozeman.

Economist Bryce Ward at the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research said it’s not surprising to see Billings Clinic expanding its presence in Bozeman.

U.S. Capitol
flickr user Tim Evanson (CC-BY-SA-2)

Montana’s senators split on yesterday’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the first time the Senate has voted to repeal the law since it passed five years ago. The House has voted to repeal it dozens of times, and is expected to confirm the Senate vote soon. The bill faces certain veto by President Obama, a veto Republicans don’t have the votes to override.

After an initial rush, the rate of people signing up for the state's Medicaid expansion program has slowed as health care officials prepare for next month's rollout.

Josh Burnham

State health officials say they’re surprised at the number of Montanans who are signing up for expanded Medicaid. Jessica Rhoades with the Department of Public Health and Human Services says more than 5,500 people have signed up in a little more than a week since enrollment began.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell issued this statement earlier today, we'll have more on what it means for Montana in tonight's Montana News at 5:44 p.m., and throughout All Things Considered tonight.

Five Challenges Facing Medicaid At 50

Jul 31, 2015
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill creating Medicare and Medicaid at the library of former President Harry Truman, who was in attendance, on July 30, 1965.
Courtesy of Truman Library

A “sleeper” provision when Congress created Medicare in 1965 to cover health care for seniors, Medicaid now provides coverage to nearly one in four Americans, at an annual cost of more than $500 billion. Today, it is the workhorse of the U.S. health system, covering nearly half of all births, one-third of children and two-thirds of people in nursing homes.

U.S. Supreme Court
Flickr user: Marty Stone (CC-BY-NC-2)

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies for people to buy health insurance means nothing really changes in Montana’s health insurance market. And that’s pretty big news.

Senator Daines' office

In a speech on the Senate floor last week, Montana Senator Steve Daines lambasted President Obama for what he says are huge increases in the price of health insurance in Montana, but he didn't get the facts exactly right.

Montana’s insurance commissioner says she’s not surprised that health insurance companies are asking for rate increases next year of more than 20 to 30 percent. But, she says, those are just requests, and it’ll be at least a couple of months before the actual rates are known.

Steve Jess, MTPR

    

Yesterday Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat, signed a Medicaid expansion bill into law that was sponsored by a Republican senator, Ed Buttrey. Buttrey has long been opposed to Medicaid expansion as called for in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. So how did the businessman from Great Falls come to sponsor a Medicaid expansion bill? I asked him about that immediately after yesterday’s bill signing ceremony at the capitol.

Gov. Bullock signs the Medicaid expansion plan into law on April 29, 2015 at the captiol. The bill's sponsor Sen. Ed Buttrey, and supporter Stephanie Wallace look on.
Steve Jess

Backers of Medicaid expansion celebrated in Helena today as Governor Bullock signed the bill extending the health coverage to an estimated 45,000 more Montanans.

Legislative Roundup: Medicaid Expansion, State Budget Advance

Apr 12, 2015
From left, House Speaker Austin Knudsen, R-Culbertson, Rep. Jeff Essmann, R-Billings, and Minority Leader Chuck Hunter, D-Helena, debate rules on the House floor April 8.
Michael Wright - UM Community News Service

After wrangling over rules, the last remaining bill to expand Medicaid at the 64th Montana Legislature appears to be headed to the governor’s desk.

Montana Capitol
William Marcus

A bill to extend Medicaid to Montana's working poor won preliminary approval in the Montana House on a 54 to 46 vote. But before it could, supporters of Senate Bill 405 had to fight off another attempt to kill this bill again in committee.

The last surviving bill on Medicaid expansion has been the subject of numerous procedural fights with the most intense action over whether it could come to the House Floor for debate. That finally happened Thursday.

Medicaid Expansion Bill Survives Another Day

Apr 8, 2015

Democrats won their fight to bring a Medicaid expansion bill to the House floor for debate.  It came with help from 11 Republicans Representatives.

Sen. Ed Buttrey (R) SD13
Montana Legislature

Tuesday brings a crucial test for Medicaid expansion in Montana. Republican Senator Ed Buttrey’s bill to offer the government-funded health coverage to about 70,000 more Montanans faces a hearing before the same committee that killed a similar proposal by Democratic Governor Steve Bullock.

Health insurance plans in Montana would have to offer some policies that didn’t cover abortion services, under a bill heard today in a House Committee.

The bill would guarantee that customers who didn’t want their premiums going to pay for abortions could choose a policy from any provider on the insurance exchange that was abortion-free, except for cases of rape, incest, or a threat to the mother’s life, cases where the law requires all policies to cover abortion. That drew objections from several advocacy groups.

Medicaid Expansion Compromise Clears Montana Senate

Mar 30, 2015
Montana Capitol dome, Helena.
William Marcus

Senator Ed Buttrey says he's pleased his bill to extend Medicaid coverage to the state's working poor won final approval in the Senate.

Eric Whitney

The Montana Senate today gave preliminary approval to a bill to expand Medicaid coverage to the state's working poor on a 28 to 22 vote.

For Senator Buttrey, Medicaid Expansion Is A Riddle And A Risk

Mar 25, 2015
Sen. Ed Buttrey (R) SD13
Montana Legislature

Middle ground on Medicaid expansion eluded the Montana Legislature in 2013, and since then Senator Ed Buttrey, R-Great Falls, has studied the issue, talked to hospitals and members of the other party and others to get to where he was last week: standing in front of the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee.

The lone surviving bill seeking to expand Medicaid coverage to the working poor will have another hearing tomorrow at the Montana Legislature.

This action comes on the heels of the bill stalling last night in the Senate Public Health Committee.

Another Medicaid Expansion Plan Introduced At The Montana Legislature

Mar 17, 2015
Sen. Ed Buttrey (R) SD13
Montana Legislature

The latest proposal to expand health insurance coverage for the working poor is scheduled for a legislative hearing Friday.

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

This week on "Capitol Talk", Sally, Mike and Chuck cover pre-school education's tough reception at the legislature, the infrastructure funding debate, Medicaid expansion passions, and concealed carry on campus.

"Capitol Talk," our weekly legislative news and analysis program, appears on Fridays throughout the legislative session. MTPR's Sally Mauk is joined by Lee Newspapers reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison.

Tune in to "Capitol Talk" on your radio every Friday during the session at 6:35 p.m. and again on Sunday at 11:00 a.m.
 

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