medicaid expansion montana public comment CMS montana women voteYou have stuck with us throughout the past three years in the fight for Medicaid Expansion, and Montana would not have voted to expand this vital need without your tireless effort. 70,000 of our friends, neighbors, and family still can’t wait for life-saving healthcare. Now that the “Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership Act” has passed our legislature, it awaits approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

  • Montana’s Medicaid expansion waiver will open up access to health coverage for tens of thousands of Montanans who have been waiting for years and who desperately need this access to care.
  • Montana’s Medicaid waiver reflects a hard won bipartisan compromise.  All interested parties made concessions in order to get a policy that could pass and be implemented.  This policy will work in practice and improve the lives and health of Montanans who are currently locked out of coverage.
  • Montanans need CMS to move swiftly in approving this waiver so the state can begin enrolling people into the program.  Thousands of Montanans have been waiting too long for access to life saving medical treatment and are counting on a swift waiver process.
  • While the policy contained in Montana’s waiver is not perfect, it is a represents a workable solution created by a diverse group of political leaders and policy advocates.

The comment period on our waiver has ended, but you can still send your support to your representatives! Click here to find your Legislator.

Sample Comment:

Dear Representative XXXXXXX,

I am writing in support of the 1115 waiver regarding SB 405, the HELP Act.  The HELP Act is an important and urgently-needed policy that will allow Montana to cover 70,000 low-income Montanans through expansion of our Medicaid program.
The HELP Act addresses the need for affordable, quality health coverage for our struggling neighbors and community members.  It will open up access to primary and preventative care for Montanans who have been locked out of our healthcare system.
This plan allows many Montanans to finally secure life saving and life changing care, allowing some to get back on their feet, some to get back to work, and others to have a better quality of life.  This plan also offers a lifeline to community medical centers and rural hospitals that have been struggling to operate and also provide care for patients who cannot pay.  These hospitals and clinics are so important to communities across our large, rural state.
[OPTIONAL]  I have a personal experience with unmet health needs… / My family is in the coverage gap… / I care about Medicaid expansion because…
I recognize that the HELP Act includes policy compromises and represents the best efforts of legislators to meet the needs of our communities.  I strongly support the HELP Act and urge you to continue supporting this vital program.

Sincerely,
Your Name

Have more questions about the waiver process? Contact Sarah (sarah@montanawomenvote.org) or Micah (micah@montanawomenvote.org) and check out the information below!

————————————————

The following is a press release from the Healthy Montana Campaign detailing the waiver process at the beginning of our timeline.

“On Tuesday, July 7, 2015 the State of Montana released its draft plan to expand health care coverage under the provisions of the Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership (HELP) Act. Because Montana passed a law that includes provisions outside of traditional Medicaid, the state must submit a plan to the federal Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). This plan is called a Section 1115 Waiver.

There are six states (Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania) that have requested and received a Section 1115 Waiver to expand coverage.

What happens now?

• Montana will hold a 60-­‐day comment period where Montanans can comment and show support for the HELP Act. You can find more information on how to submit a comment on DPHHS’s website. Individuals and organizations can comment in writing or by email at any point directly to DPHHS until September 7th.

• Montana will hold two public forums, where individuals can attend and share their comments with the Department. The forums will be on August 18 in Billings and August 20 in Helena.

• In mid-­‐September, Montana will submit its updated waiver to CMS. The state must include a summary of the comments it received during the state comment period.

• Once submitted, CMS must then meet the federal timeline, including a separate comment period of 30 days. It is unclear how long the federal process will take, but probably several months. Montana is requesting that coverage begin on January 1, 2016.

Why is the comment period important?

The 1115 waiver reflects the negotiated bipartisan bill that the legislature passed and the Governor signed. While it may not be perfect, it provides much-­‐needed health care coverage to tens of thousands of Montanans who have been waiting for years.

This is an opportunity for the public to provide its feedback on the details included in the waiver, but most importantly, to reiterate support for expanding health care coverage to Montanans who need it. Time is of the essence, and we are urging CMS to move as quickly as possible to begin providing coverage that 70,000 Montanans need.” Montana Budget and Policy Center