Governor signs Montana’s Medicaid expansion bill

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By: Amy Beth Hanson

Bullock, however, vetoed a bill that sought to help insurance companies negotiate better contracts with pharmacy benefit managers — the middle man between drug manufacturers and pharmacies.

The vetoed bill would have required any rebates offered by drug manufacturers go directly to the health insurers to be used to reduce premiums for policies sold through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. The office of state Auditor and Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale wrote the bill, saying it would have saved about 70,000 Montanans up to $8 million in the first year.

The bill would increase administrative costs and result in higher drug costs, Bullock wrote in his veto letter.

“Bullock’s veto is a gift to the pharmaceutical and insurance industries and a slap in the face to consumers,” Rosendale said in a statement…

The governor earlier signed a bill, similar to one initially proposed by Rosendale’s office in 2017, to set up a high-cost reinsurance program for policies sold on the exchange. It will use premium taxes and federal money that would have been used for premium tax credits to pay medical claims that cost more than $40,000 and less than $1 million. It’s estimated the reinsurance pool will offset any insurance premium increases by 10% to 20%.

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