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Healthcare

Healthcare news from Montana Public Radio.

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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.

Todd Lovshin, VP/MT Regional Director, PacificSource, Scott Malloy, Senior Program Officer, Montana Healthcare Foundation, Dr. Monica Berner, Pres., BCBS Montana, Pam Palagi, V.P.of Finance, St. James Healthcare, Butte, testifying Jan. 17, 2017.
Eric Whitney

A legislative committee on health care prices seems split on whether giving consumers more information about health care prices will make much difference.

Last year Montana's Legislature set up a committee to study transparency in health care pricing, concerned that consumers don't have enough information about what health care procedures cost to shop for the best deals. And that means there's little incentive for providers to offer low prices.

Montana’s state health department is getting ready to take over day-to-day help for 3,000 people with developmental disabilities this spring, after severing contracts with four private contractors.

The department says it had no choice after state lawmakers and the governor cut $49 million out of its budget in November.

San Francisco's KQED is one of several public radio stations trying to help people find the best prices for healthcare.
KQED.org

Shopping for health care is kind of like going to a grocery store where there aren’t any price tags. That jar of spaghetti sauce might cost $4, or maybe $50. But in health care you typically don’t find out prices until you get to the checkout counter. People with one kind of card pay one price, those with another pay a different one, and you may do better or worse if you offer cash.

Last year Montana lawmakers, frustrated by how hard it is to shop for the best deal in healthcare, set up a special committee to find solutions. That committee meets for the first time Wednesday.

A baby clutches a parent's finger.
(PD)

The Montana Department of Health launched a new program today aimed at reducing child deaths, along with abuse and neglect among vulnerable families. The First Years Initiative will provide services and resources to new mothers and their children. It’s funded through a federal grant and will be rolled out in stages.

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