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Healthcare news from Montana Public Radio.

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(PD)

Sheila Stearns is barely three months into her interim position as president of the University of Montana.  The former Commissioner of Higher Education and UM alumna freely admits that she has plenty to learn about what’s happening on campus.

Bill Would Create A Fund For Family And Medical Leave

Feb 9, 2017

Montana lawmakers heard a bill Thursday that would create a fund to help with those in need of family or medical leave from their job. 

In an effort to control prices on air ambulance rides in Montana, lawmakers are considering urging Congress to revise the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.
Christopher Ebdon (CC-BY-NC-SA)

On Wednesday, the first in a package of bills trying to address the high cost of air ambulances landed before lawmakers for a vote.

As lawmakers continue crafting the state’s budget, officials with Montana’s health department say the state’s Medicaid programs need more funds to keep up with caseloads. 

Dr. David Shulkin is President Trump's nominee to run the Veterans Affairs Department.
(PD)

President Donald Trump's nominee to run the Veterans Affairs Department says there are no easy fixes for what ails that beleaguered agency.

At his confirmation hearing today, Dr. David Shulkin vowed to, "seek major reform and a transformation of the VA."

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
PD

As Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services faces a proposed $93 million dollars in budget cuts in the wake of  state revenue shortfalls, the department’s new director says she hopes to maintain efforts to combat Montana’s high suicide rate.

Josh Burnham

Healthcare employment in Montana grew by more than 3 percent last year, after years of growth below 1 percent. That's according to the new annual report from the University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

2016 was the first full year of Medicaid expansion in Montana under the Affordable Care Act, which helped the state's uninsured rate drop by nearly two-thirds.

Montana Capitol, Helena.
Mike Albans

State lawmakers consider big budget cuts this session, including $93 million in cuts for the Department of Health and Human Services. The Montana Legislature begins preparations for the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and two familiar names are circulating for the special election to fill Ryan Zinke’s congressional seat — Gianforte and Baucus.

Join Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson, and Rob Saldin now for this episode of  "Capitol Talk."

Montana Lawmakers Look For Ways To Address High Healthcare Costs

Jan 13, 2017
Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

When travelers are looking for a cheaper way to get to their destination, they might try different websites to compare prices. Republican Senator Cary Smith says the same should be true for health care.

Senate Bill 96 would provide incentive for both the patients and their insurers to shop around for their treatment and procedures. The savings would be split between the patient and the insurance company.

Josh Burnham

If you’re wondering how repealing the Affordable Care Act will impact Montana, Indian country is a good place to look.

To Native healthcare leaders, Obamacare provides a great opportunity to create jobs.

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