Tester Introduces Bill to Support Montana’s Plan to Increase Access to Health Care

Senator’s Bill Will Support Governor Bullock’s Medicaid Expansion Plan

(U.S. Senate) – Senator Jon Tester today introduced a bill that will support Governor Steve Bullock’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan that is providing access to health care to tens of thousands of low-income Montanans.

Tester’s bill will add to the significant fiscal, economic and health benefits that the state of Montana is already providing to the 42,000 Montanans, their communities, and medical providers through the state’s Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership (HELP) Plan.

“Montana’s plan to provide health care to folks in every corner of our state is a strong step toward building healthier communities,” Tester said. “My bill will help support low-income families, and ensure that all Montanans have access to affordable health care.”

Under current law, states that expanded Medicaid after 2014 receive less federal support than states who expanded Medicaid before 2014. Montana expanded Medicaid in April, 2015 with coverage starting in January, 2016.

Tester’s bill will provide the state of Montana with 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion for 2016, 2017, and 2018, and steps down to covering 90 percent of the cost in 2022 and beyond. Currently, the federal government will pick up 100 percent of the tab for only 2016, and step down to covering 90 percent of the cost in 2020 and beyond.

“Through our made-in-Montana bipartisan solution to Medicaid Expansion, all Montanans now have access to quality affordable healthcare, making our already strong economy even stronger,” said Governor Bullock. “Our federal tax dollars are coming back home to serve rural Montana and its healthcare infrastructure, and I look forward to seeing it go to work for our state.”

During Montana’s 2015 legislative session, Governor Bullock worked with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to expand Medicaid eligibility to 70,000 low-income Montanans.