On Wednesday Governor Steve Bullock signed the Help Act into law at Capitol Rotunda. The measure will expand health coverage to Montanans who fall into the Medicaid coverage gap and need low cost insurance. Governor Bullock has been pushing Medicaid expansion for the past three to four years. Spokesperson Dave Parker said this would put federal tax dollars to use for residents.

"It was a historic day in Montana. The Governor signed Senate Bill 405, the Help Act, which will expand Medicaid eligibility to an estimated 70,000 Montanans and will bring our federal tax dollars home," Parker said. "It also, more importantly, throws a lifeline to our rural hospitals."

Although this measure is signed into law, it needs secondary approval from the federal government’s Center for Medicaid Services before Montanans can receive coverage.

"If states do anything different than those guidelines, then they need to apply for a waiver to accept those facets of the program that are different than what the guidelines originally set," Parker said. "In Montana, this is a uniquely made in Montana solution, so there are different things in our plan that you need to request a waiver for."

The approval is expected to take three to nine months before the measure is approved.

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