Governor Steve Bullock today called for public comments on Montana’s plan for the Montana Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership (HELP) Act. The proposal, called a Medicaid waiver, is Montana’s request for approval from the federal government on Medicaid expansion provisions not traditionally included as part of the Medicaid program. The HELP Act brings Montana tax dollars home to extend health care coverage to residents between the ages of 19- 64 earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level—roughly $16,000/year for an individual, or $28,000/year for a family of three.

The HELP Act will not only save lives, but will also create jobs by bringing our tax dollars back from the federal government to extend health coverage,” Bullock said. “This draft waiver is an important step toward allowing Montanans to access coverage, while throwing a lifeline to Montana’s rural hospitals, putting Montanans to work, and reducing the cost-shifting that is increasing costs for those of us fortunate enough to have health insurance.”

The posting of the draft waiver starts a 60 day public comment period on the parts of the HELP Act which require federal approval. Public comments may be submitted until midnight on September 7. In addition, the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) will host two public meetings where interested Montanans can provide their comment in person.

Instructions about how to provide comment and/or participate in either public meeting has been posted on the DPHHS website. Comments can either be mailed to Jo Thompson, PO Box 202951, Helena, MT 59620-2951, or submitted electronically to

The first HELP Act Oversight Committee meeting has been scheduled for Monday, August 17 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 137 of the Capitol in Helena. A meeting agenda will be posted to the DPHHS website in early August. A list of committee members has already been posted.