Bullock signs Medicaid expansion bill, other health care measures into law

Gov. Steve Bullock signed a package of health care bills into law on Thursday, including the reauthorization of Medicaid expansion.

The sweeping package of nine bills also includes a program to lower insurance premiums on the individual market and other measures intended to lower prescription drug prices.

“These bills continue the progress our state has made in recent years to provide quality and affordable health care to Montanans, and they will further our efforts to increase access, reduce costs, and improve the quality of care,” Bullock said in a statement.

Bullock also signed into a law measure to establish a public program to save Montanans money on insurance premiums. That resulted from the recommendations of 13-member panel tasked with developing bipartisan legislation to offset costly claims.

“We hear time and time again that it’s an issue all over for people from all walks of life and Montana is no different,” said bill sponsor Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick of Great Falls. “The data showed us that reinsurance will lower premiums up to 20 percent for those purchasing insurance. This is an important step towards making healthcare more accessible and affordable.”

Bills aimed at reducing prescription drug prices include the following:

  • Senate Bill 335 protects federally qualified health centers from discrimination in prescription drug pricing;
  • Senate Bill 83 holds accountable pharmacy benefit managers by applying protections to their billing practices and preventing surprise fees; and
  • Senate Bill 270, the Prescription Price Protection Act, prohibits pharmacy benefit managers from requiring pharmacies to charge consumers more in copayments than it costs to make a drug.