Butte-Silver Bow Passes Resolution Calling for Medicaid Expansion
City-County Council Moves to Expand Healthcare to More Montanans
The resolution states that “all Montanans should have access to quality, affordable healthcare, and accepting federal funds to expand Montana’s Medicaid program or provide health coverage through other means would give access to health care to 70,000 low-income Montanans, and accepting these federal funds in Montana will provide health coverage for working parents, farmers and ranchers, veterans, Native Americans, and low-wage workers.”
The resolution further states that “by refusing to accept these federal funds, Montana is losing out on $1.84 million in federal funds per day. The city-county has 1,895 uninsured residents currently eligible for Medicaid under expansion, and would receive $14,781,000 in additional anticipated Medicaid spending.”
“Expanding Medicaid could create thousands of jobs and keep Montana hospitals from financial distress,” said councilmember Bill Andersen, who sponsored the resolution. “Organizations as diverse as AARP, the Montana AFL-CIO and the Montana Chamber of Commerce support Medicaid expansion. It is obvious that this is something that just makes sense for Butte-Silver Bow and the state of Montana.”
The National Association of Counties (NACo) approved a resolution incorporating support for Medicaid expansion into its 2014 platform at its annual meeting this last June. The national resolution states that NACo supports full funding for, and implementation of, the provisions of the ACA that help counties meet the service needs of low income and disabled populations. Specifically, NACo supports maintaining and expanding affordable health coverage and benefits to uninsured and underinsured residents who rely on county health care delivery systems – including Medicaid expansion.
The adoption of the national resolution paved the way for counties across the country to adopt similar resolutions in states that have not yet expanded Medicaid. As a result, many counties throughout the nation have adopted similar resolutions urging their state legislatures to move forward with Medicaid expansion. Among the first local government in Montana to do so is the Butte-Silver Bow Council of Commissioners.
Following the lead set forth by NACo, the Montana Association of Counties (MACo) adopted a policy statement in support of Medicaid expansion at its most recent annual meeting in September. Adoption of the policy statement means that MACo will support Medicaid expansion efforts during the 2015 legislative session.
“Adoption of this resolution is important because it shows our legislators that Medicaid expansion is a critical local issue that matters to their constituents,” said Sarah Howell, Executive Director of Montana Women Vote and drafter of the model resolution. “I am hoping other local governments around Montana will consider adopting this resolution at their upcoming meetings.”
“The Healthy Montana Campaign applauds the Butte-Silver Bow Council for supporting Medicaid expansion,” said Kim Abbott, the coalition’s president. “Passage of this resolution by the Butte-Silver Bow Council of Commissioners is an important statement by a local community about the urgency and the impact of accepting these federal funds and getting Montanans health care. Councilmember Bill Andersen, who sponsored the resolution and Dan Harington, former state legislator and AARP volunteer deserve recognition for bringing this resolution forward.”
The Healthy Montana Campaign was formed to advance Medicaid expansion in Montana and is an alliance of labor, health and advocacy groups -- including AARP Montana; the Montana Budget and Policy Center; SEIU 775, Montana Human Rights Network; Montana Women Vote and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana.
If county or city councils are interested in adopting a local resolution calling for Medicaid expansion, the model language along with local statistics can be found at HealthyMontanaCampaign.org.
Photo Credit Butte-Silver Bow City County Courthouse: J. Stephen Conn via Flickr