I have had the privilege and joy of serving as a pastor in Montana for the last 25 years. I have ministered to the sick and the suffering and have seen people defer medical care because they could not afford it. Ministers and religious leaders all over our state are called to serve the most vulnerable and the last thing we want to see is an increase in preventable death and illness and a loss of rural health. That is why we are asking our legislators to lift the sunset on Medicaid expansion.
Four years ago, Montana made an incredible decision to take care of each other and seized an opportunity to expand Medicaid. Together, we helped Montanans access to health coverage they could not have afforded on their own. Unfortunately, this successful program will expire in June unless the Legislature acts.
We know that nearly 100,000 Montanans of all ages now rely on Medicaid expansion to get access to health care. Research shows that when people are without medical coverage, they postpone regularly scheduled doctor visits, they visit emergency rooms in worse condition, and they die prematurely.
Our rural hospitals and clinics rely on Medicaid expansion to cover their costs. If our current Medicaid expansion expires, our rural citizens could lose their local hospitals and clinics.
I strongly urge our legislators to pass HB 658. Jesus came to heal the sick and to care for those in need. We can faithfully follow in his footsteps by passing HB 658.
The Rev. Amy Carter