Medicaid Expansion

Same topic, different views

By Tim Baldwin & Joe Carbonari

By Tim Baldwin

“You can’t buy health.” Right? Ironically, without money, a person’s health will suffer. Much of the debate concerning the Affordable Healthcare Act and Medicaid expansion surrounds this reality. Here is the problem: health care costs can destroy people financially who cannot afford health insurance. A fix is necessary then.

The legislature is debating SB 405 now. It seeks to expand Medicaid coverage for those who cannot afford health insurance but do not qualify for Medicaid—a lot of Montanans. SB 405 is a 16 page bill that gives a lot of rule-making power to the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Labor and Industry. It has opt-out provisions for those not wanting to participate, as well as an oversight committee to report on its findings on various subjects.

Not all services arranged by government are inherently ineffective. For example, government builds roads, provides public education, and defends our nation. We have come to accept and expect this. So, we pay taxes to these ends. Those services are borne and enjoyed by everyone. Today, people are viewing health care more this way. But that debate, of course, continues.

Not all answers involving government regulation are ideal, but some are necessary. The institution of government is itself a choice of necessity. Thankfully, we, the people, have the inherent power to abolish any laws that prove unworthy.


By Joe Carbonari

This past week in Helena, our senate’s Health Committee held a hearing on Ed Buttrey’s bill to strike a compromise on Medicaid expansion. They haven’t voted on it yet. I hope that there are some good backroom discussions working themselves out. “What are the problems?” “What do you want?” What do you really want… need?”

Buttrey seems to think some personal responsibility on the part of beneficiaries is important. I agree. His bill appears to give people a reasonable opportunity to better their lot, a requirement to give it a try, and an enforced personal by-in , of at least a few dollars.

Coverage would essentially be full for the gap left when Medicaid expansion became optional and we said no to the money. Intentions were good all-around, but the thinking was incomplete. The money is ours, by right, to use for the health of our people. There is significant need. There are significant jobs at stake…in fields available to those who most need them….both families, and individuals.

In our families we error on the side of taking care of everyone, even those that aren’t fully cooperating at a given moment…at least we do on serious things…like their health. Who truly deserves how much of our help, for what, and with what strings attached? I like Ed Buttrey’s approach to health care.

S.B. 405…a good way to treat our Montana family.

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