Republican Unveils New Bill to Expand Medicaid

With Governor's proposal defeated, GOP lawmaker introduces alternative to insure low-income residents

By Tristan Scott

HELENA — With the governor’s Medicaid expansion proposal defeated, a Great Falls lawmaker has unveiled another health coverage plan that also seeks to reduce the number of people in poverty.

The Montana Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership (HELP) Act was introduced by Republican Sen. Ed Buttrey on Tuesday. It would accept federal funds to expand Medicaid to low-income people but with various strings attached.

Senate Bill 405 would require those who qualify for coverage to pay health care premiums and co-payments for certain services.

Additionally, all those who choose to enroll would be asked by the state Department of Labor to participate in a workplace assessment survey for the creation of a job placement plan.

Buttrey says his bill has bipartisan support. It’s expected to get a first hearing on Friday.