The race for Montana’s one and only seat in the House of Representatives will be decided Thursday, and health care is taking center stage in the race’s last week.
The $10 billion plug-in that lets frustrated veterans receive care from private-sector providers is still causing frustration.
In remote parts of Montana, the Affordable Care Act has meant better health care for Native Americans and more job opportunities.
The Obama administration has said no to states taking more control over Medicaid, but the incoming Congress and White House may be more inclined to say yes.
Nationwide, fewer than 10 percent of people who need kidney dialysis do it at home. But close to 40 percent of patients of a Montana doctor do it at home. Medicare is hoping it’s a trend.
Enrollment is nearly double where the state expected to be at the seven-month mark.
A program that was supposed to help veterans see doctors closer to home more quickly is not fulfilling its promise.
Since its rollout on Jan. 1, Montana Medicaid expansion has enrolled more than 38,000 people and returned $3 million to the state’s general fund.
The state is proposing to require people to pay a premium of up to 2 percent of their income, but the Obama administration has generally insisted that people earning under the poverty level not be charged a fee.
Prices for plans sold on the health law exchanges won’t be final until the fall, and some of the highest rate increases may be for plans that do not have very many people enrolled in them.
Medicaid expansion was a big deal in a handful of states’ legislatures this year. Wyoming said no, Tennessee said no. Montana said yes in last-minute maneuvering, and three more states are coming down to the wire, including Utah, Alaska and Florida.
Backers of Medicaid expansion celebrated in Helena as Gov. Steve Bullock signed the bill extending the health coverage to an estimated 45,000 more Montanans.
The bill picked up two more Republican votes in the state House and has the support of the governor.
A crucial vote Thursday could make Montana the 29th state to opt into the health law’s Medicaid expansion.
A House committee gives the bill a “do not pass” recommendation, which effectively kills Democrats’ efforts to get it on the House floor. A Republican counter-proposal that includes premiums and co-payments for Medicaid enrollees may come out of the state Senate.
Most industries share complicated digital files to do business, but health care still leans hard on paper printouts and fax machines. Despite a $30 billion taxpayer investment in electronic health records since 2009, most of those systems are unable to talk to each other.
After sitting out the first full year of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, lawmakers in Montana have moved on to arguing — not about whether — but about how much federal cash to pull down.
For centuries, the central challenge in health care was ignorance. Now, health care is being flooded with information. But commerce and medicine are still trying to figure out what do with all that data.