A crowd of more than 50 healthcare workers, patients, and advocates chanted outside the state capitol Tuesday afternoon protesting the Montana health department’s plan to reduce funding for Medicaid services.

They came for their first opportunity to testify before a legislative committee that’s also questioning the priorities of Governor Steve Bullock’s administration as it trims the state budget in the face of a continuing state revenue shortfall.

Crowd outside the Montana Capitol protesting pending state budget cuts to health department, and other agencies, Sept. 11, 2017.
Corin Cates-Carney

A state legislative committee heard protests over proposed cuts to Medicaid Monday.

The cuts Montana's Department of Public Health and Human Services is planning are in response to the Legislature cutting its budget by $8.6 million. They would result in lower payments to health care professionals, and end some case-management services.

This map shows spending on health care services via Medicaid expansion by county since January, 2016
Montana DPHHS

A new report says that Medicaid expansion has saved Montana more than $30 million in its first 18 months.

"Medicaid expansion continues to be a stunning success for Montana," said Shiela Hogan, director of Montana's Department of Health and Human Services. "There's no denying this."

Hundreds showed up to testify in Helena against cuts to Medicaid, July 27, 2017.
Eric Whitney

"These are no doubt difficult times."

That’s Sheila Hogan, the head of Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services Thursday. She was kicking off a hearing on a planned cut to how much the department will pay doctors, hospitals and other health workers who take care of people on Medicaid.

William Buck, who owns Shepherd's Way assisted living facility in Lewistown says planned cuts to Medicaid would be "devastating."
Eric Whitney

Hundreds of people packed an auditorium in Helena Thursday to protest planned cuts to Medicaid.

"This 3.47 percent cut is devastating," says William Buck, who owns Shepherd's Way assisted living facility in Lewistown.