MTPR

Healthcare

Healthcare news from Montana Public Radio.

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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.

More than 70 people attended the Democratic candidate forum in Helena, January 11, 2018.
Corin Cates-Carney

Five Democrats running for their party’s nomination to challenge Republican Greg Gianforte for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House met in their second public forum in Helena Thursday night.

They continued working to distinguish themselves as uniquely qualified to beat Gianforte. A Democrat has not represented Montana in the U.S. House since 1996.

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