Debate over Montana Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership (HELP) Act Begins - Center for Rural Affairs urges passage of SB 405

Release Date: 

04/10/2015

Contact(s): 

Steph Larsen, StephL@cfra.org, (406) 356-6838 or (202) 701-8151
or John Crabtree, johnc@cfra.org, (563) 581-2867 or (402) 687-2103 ext. 1010
 

Helena, MT - Debate for SB 405, Montana Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership (HELP) Act, begins in the Montana House today. The legislative proposal, introduced by Senator Ed Buttrey of Great Falls, would help redesign Montana’s Medicaid program and close the existing Medicaid gap by providing healthcare coverage for uninsured Montanans who don’t make enough to qualify for tax credits through the new healthcare marketplace.

“Today, Montana lawmakers are deciding about the lives of over 70,000 Montanas and the fate of dozens of rural hospitals and clinics,” said Steph Larsen of the Center for Rural Affairs in St. Ignatius, MT. “SB 405 would provide health insurance coverage through the state’s Medicaid program to those in the Medicaid coverage gap.”

“People crash into the gap when they make too much income to qualify for traditional Medicaid but not enough to qualify for tax credits through the health insurance marketplace. Without passage of SB 405, rural hospitals will close, 70,000 Montanans will continue to struggle without affordable health care, and, at the end of the day, people will die. The responsible thing to do, the moral thing, is to pass SB 405 without delay.”
Steph Larsen, Center for Rural Affairs

According to Larsen, Montana is losing over $2 million every day by failing to provide health coverage to its low-income, working citizens and the federal funding that will provide it. Since January 1, 2014, Montana has lost a total of over $926 million in available federal Medicaid funds (http://www.cfra.org/mt-medicaid-dollars).