Biden quietly transforms Medicaid’s safety net

BY: and - July 26, 2021

The Biden administration is quietly engineering a series of expansions to Medicaid that may bolster protections for millions of low-income Americans and bring more people into the program. Biden’s efforts — which have been largely overshadowed by other economic and health initiatives — represent an abrupt reversal of the Trump administration’s moves to scale back […]

Rosendale proposes making telehealth for Medicare a permanent option

BY: - July 22, 2021

A lot of facets of everyday life were disrupted during the COVID pandemic. However, one of the things that seemed to work and may be here to stay is telehealth. And Congressman Matt Rosendale, R-Montana, has introduced legislation that makes telehealth visits for behavioral health and counseling a permanent part of Medicare. Telehealth, especially for […]

As pandemic eases, seniors need more strength and rehab

BY: - June 29, 2021

Ronald Lundquist, 87, has been active all his life. So, he wasn’t prepared for what happened when he stopped going out during the coronavirus pandemic and spent most of his time, inactive, at home. “I found it hard to get up and get out of bed,” said Lundquist, who lives with his wife of 67 […]

New poll shows Montana support for relief, infrastructure, senior care

BY: - May 26, 2021

New polling data by a statewide group dedicated to senior issues shows popular support for much of the relief effort championed by Congress and President Joseph Biden. Big Sky 55+ sponsored the poll conducted by Data for Progress, which surveyed 723 likely voters, with more conservatives than liberals. Big Sky 55+ is a nonpartisan nonprofit […]

Gianforte signs $12.6B budget

BY: - May 20, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte on Thursday signed the state’s $12.6 billion biennial spending plan, fulfilling the Legislature’s sole constitutional authority and enshrining tax and spending cuts that he and allied lawmakers championed this session. The budget comes in more than $100 million slimmer than the proposal that Gianforte brought to the Legislature at the beginning of […]

That’s a wrap: 67th Legislature is in the book

BY: , , and - May 2, 2021

“The End” — not typically how news stories start, but the end came for the 67th Legislature, and by most accounts, it was one of the most memorable and consequential in the state’s history as a Republican supermajority swept into office, including capturing the governor’s chair. Because of the overwhelming number of Republicans, free to […]

Abortion review panel failed on a 10-9 vote

BY: - April 23, 2021

Republican Sens. Duane Ankney of Colstrip, Dan Salomon of Ronan, and Jeff Welborn of Dillon crossed party lines to kill on a 10-9 vote an amendment that would have created a panel to review whether abortions paid for by Medicaid were medically necessary. Welborn said the procedure is still legal whether people agree with it […]

Public assistance verification plan hits snag in committee

BY: - April 13, 2021

A House panel Monday afternoon voted to table legislation that would end Medicaid “continuous eligibility” in Montana and require state health officials to cross-check public assistance eligibility across a series of databases after several Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the bill. Without explaining their votes, Reps. Sharon Greef, R-Florence, Greg Frazer, R-Deer Lodge, Mallerie Stromswold, […]

Report: Change in Montana law could mean more than 20,000 lose health care

BY: - April 9, 2021

Two of the country’s leading public health experts are weighing in on the Montana Legislature’s plan to limit Medicaid’s “continuous eligibility,” saying that calculations, estimates and numbers being given to the public are flawed and miscalculated, which will lead to as many as six times the number of people being kicked off the insurance rolls […]

State budget gets Senate approval

BY: - April 8, 2021

The Montana Senate on Thursday signed off on the state’s $12.6 billion budget, rejecting amendments to defund Medicaid expansion and restore cuts made earlier in the process, among others, as House Bill 2 makes its penultimate steps to the governor’s desk. Lawmakers in the upper chamber passed the spending package on a bipartisan 34-16 vote, […]

House Human Services Committee tables HB676

BY: - March 31, 2021

After a 12-7 no vote Wednesday, the House Human Services Committee tabled a bill opponents said would hurt the ability of children and working families to access Medicaid and CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and hurt Native Americans. In a hearing one day earlier, opponents said House Bill 676 would push children off of […]

Tribal liaison positions restored; continuous enrollment policy for CHIP, Medicaid cut

BY: and - March 12, 2021

Lawmakers charged with crafting the budget voted for an amendment on Friday that would restore a pair of tribal liaison positions in the Department of Public Health and Human Services, reversing cuts that Democrats and indigenous Montanans have been agitating against throughout the session. However, the House Appropriations Committee voted to forge ahead with its […]