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Senate passes compromise Medicaid expansion bill, heads to House for consideration

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HELENA, Montana — The Montana Senate has passed a Republican lawmaker's compromise Medicaid expansion bill.

Senators passed the measure 28-21 Monday. It will go next to the House for consideration.

Sen. Ed Buttrey of Great Falls introduced Senate Bill 405 two weeks ago after Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock's proposal to expand Medicaid was defeated earlier in the month.

The Montana Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership (HELP) Act would accept federal funds to expand Medicaid eligibility to low-income people but would require them to pay premiums and co-payments. Enrollees would also be asked to participate in a workplace assessment survey designed to help people obtain better-paying jobs.

Under the measure, adults making up to $16,242 a year and a family of four earning up to $33,465 would become eligible for Medicaid health insurance.

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