Posted: Mar 26, 2013 7:36 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Updated: Mar 26, 2013 7:39 PM
HELENA - More than 100 people rallied at the Capitol on Monday to show support for a plan that would expand Medicaid to 70,000 more people.
Patients, doctors, and activists came together to ask lawmakers to pass Governor Steve Bullock's "Access Health Montana" bill.
The plan, which received a hearing in the House on Monday, would increase the eligibility limits.
Right now, a family of four making less than $8,000 a year qualifies for Medicaid. Under expansion, the limit would increase to $32,000 a year.
Bullock told the crowd, "You know, it's no secret that our system is broken. We pay too much and we get too little."
Marci McLean of Billings said, "Medicaid provided a clean, safe, and sterile environment to give birth to my daughter nine years ago. My daughter was able to receive monthly check ups, vaccinations, and other necessary doctor's visits from birth on. At that time I was attending school full time and working over 30 hours a week, while raising my two children on my own."
Megan Littlefield, a physician in Billings, said, "On a regular basis, I see patients who need a particular test or need to follow up with me closely until we stabilize their chronic disease. They simply tell me, 'I can't do that doc, I have no insurance.' With Medicaid expansion we can do better than this."
Many Republicans oppose expansion, saying it's too expensive.
They also say the health outcomes of Medicaid patients are not as good as those on private insurance.