Senate candidate Adams backs Medicaid expansion initiative

2013-11-22T16:34:00Z 2014-05-30T11:05:46Z Senate candidate Adams backs Medicaid expansion initiativeGazette State Bureau The Billings Gazette
November 22, 2013 4:34 pm  • 

HELENA — Wilsall rancher Dirk Adams, one of three men vying for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in Montana, said Friday he supports the proposed ballot initiative to expand Medicaid coverage for 70,000 low-income Montanans.

“I’ll be mentioning it at every campaign stop going forward,” he said.

Adams said he also called the office of Gov. Steve Bullock this week, offering to help in any way to get the measure on the ballot and get it passed.

Bullock, a Democrat, supports the initiative, but the campaign for the measure is being run by a coalition of health, labor and consumer groups.

The coalition on Thursday submitted the ballot measure’s proposed language to state officials for review.

Once the measure’s final form is approved, the coalition has until June to get the signatures of 24,175 registered Montana voters to qualify the measure for the 2014 general election ballot.

Dubbed the Healthy Montana Initiative, the measure, if passed, would expand Medicaid to cover Montanans earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $15,800 for a single person. Medicaid is the state-federal program that covers medical bills for the poor.

The Medicaid expansion would be financed primarily by the federal government, as part of the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law also known as “Obamacare.”

When asked if he supports the ACA, Adams said he supports its intent to provide medical health coverage for everyone, but declined to elaborate. He said he’ll unveil a more detailed position on the ACA later.

Adams, Lt. Gov. John Walsh and former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger are running for the Democratic nomination to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.

U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Kalispell air traffic manager David Leaser are running for the Republican nomination for the seat.

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