Special Interests Gaming the System and Bypassing the Legislature to Permanently Lock into Place a Program Intended to be Re-evaluated
When Montana lawmakers expanded the state’s Medicaid program in 2015, they wrote a sunset provision into the law to ensure that the Legislature had a chance to study the program’s effectiveness and control costs and spending.
Despite those intentions, the proponents of I-185 want to eliminate the sunset and make the program permanent, bypassing the legislature and obligating taxpayers to spend millions more without the oversight originally planned.
Medicaid Expansion in Montana has already proven to be nearly twice as expensive as lawmakers originally estimated. Government healthcare spending is out of control, and I-185 will only make things worse.
I-185 Locks Medicaid Expansion Into Law
The massive growth in this entitlement program is something that should concern all Montanans, but I-185 locks the program’s expansion into law and creates a permanent appropriation, meaning taxpayers are obligated to fund Medicaid expansion without the oversight promised when this program was first created.
I-185 Extends a Flawed Program
I-185 extends a flawed voluntary work program that is supposed to train enrollees for higher paying jobs and help them get off government assistance. However, only 22 percent of Medicaid expansion enrollees signed up for the work program.
If we are going to raise taxes to enroll even more people in government assistance programs, we should make sure the program is accountable to helping enrollees find work.
I-185 Funds a Department That Has Been Criticized for Misusing Tax Dollars
The Department of Public Health and Human Services has been criticized for misusing state and federal tax dollars and has been the subject of several critical state audits.
Montanans should demand better accountability before making the program permanent.