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Special Session, Citizen’s Initiative Considered to Expand Medicaid

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Photo courtesy of schaaflicht/Flickr

Even though medicaid expansion failed in the Montana legislature, some advocacy groups are planning to get the legislation passed by using other means.

“The bottom line is that the legislature went home this last week without getting the job done to expand health care access to over 70,000 Montananas, and that means we have two options to do what the legilsature couldn’t,” said Co-director of Montana Women Vote, Sarah Howell

The two options are to either have the Governor declare a special legislative session to specifically deal with medicaid expansion, or to get enough signatures to have a citizen’s initiative.

:”We would like to see this go through a special session and the reason is that Montanas can’t wait for healthcare,” Howell said. “If we go to the ballot we’re talking about two years that folks could get covered, that instead they have to wait for healthcare.”

In order to get a citizen’s initiative approved, Montana Women Vote and other groups would need to collect signatures from at least ten percent of Montana voters. Because of the record turn out in 2012, citizen’s initiatives now require over 24,000 signatures.

If a special legislative session fails, or is avoided altogether because Governor Bullock calculates he won’t be able to get the required votes, then a citizens initiative would be the only route to expansion.

Sarah Howell

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