Montana governor signs Medicaid expansion bill

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed legislation Wednesday to expand Medicaideligibility to about 70,000 low-income residents. The CMS must approve the plan, which includes premiums equaling 2% of a beneficiary's income. 

Montana would be the 29th state to expand Medicaid if the CMS grants its request for a waiver. 

Under the proposal, participants would be offered assistance to find employment or a better-paying job. 

There were many attempts to derail the Medicaid legislation along the way, including a campaign backed by the well-funded Americans for Prosperity, which has been credited with derailing expansion efforts in Kansas and Tennessee, and it continues to be an active force of opposition in Florida.

Republican state Sen. Edward Buttrey, who authored the law signed by Bullock,said he received political threats from the group.

Buttrey said he was able to get other Republicans in his state to back his proposal by positioning it as an economic engine. The bill, he told them, would help not only improve the health of Montanans, but it would also help them get out of poverty. He also said it would create jobs, mostly in the healthcare industry.

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