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Montana State Senator Says Citizen’s Initiative to Expand Medicaid Will Be Little More Than a Beauty Show

montana capitol dome
Photo courtesy of Great Beyond/Flickr

During the 2013 session, the Montana Legislature decided not to expand Medicaid. However, some Montanan’s are advocating that Medicaid Expansion be pushed through in the next election through a Citizen’s Initiative. State Senator Fred Thomas says that A citizen’s initiative would be little more than a beauty pageant.

“We have examined that issue in less than a session and decided not to do that for several reasons,” Thomas said. “What this would do would be kind of a beauty contest in telling the state legislature next session that you need to do this, or you do not need to do it if the voters of the state think this through and vote no”

Thomas says that a Citizen’s Initiative would not have the power to pay for the expansion.

“Doctors should prohibit the appropriation of money by initiatives so all they can do is say do it,” said Thomas. “The state would need to authorize the expenditure to do it and that would be where it would really be done”

Although the Federal Government would carry most of the costs for expanding medicaid to begin with, Thomas says that, down the road, Montana’s would be stuck with a bill of 250 million dollars or more that would need approval from the Montana State House of Representatives before it could be instituted.

Fred Thomas

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