2013 Legislative Priorities
1. Restore Personal Assistance Services
2. Increase Medicaid Provider Rates
3. Provide Health Care for Health Care Workers
4. Implement Community First Choice Option
5. Fund Montana Youth Transitions
We are a little more than halfway through the 2013 Montana Legislative Session and so far things are looking okay. Montana’s Centers for Independent Living entered this legislative session with a few legislative priorities. Our goals included: restoring personal assistance services funding for meal preparation, increasing Medicaid provider rates, extending funding for the Health Care for Health Care Workers program, obtaining legislative authority to implement the Community First Choice Option and reinstating funding for the Montana Youth Transitions project.
Since the 2013 Legislative Session began, we have been able to get a commitment from the Governor’s office to fund the Montana Youth Transitions project out of existing state funds, so we do not have to seek a separate bill through the legislature for the funds. Also, during initial budget negotiations in the Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, the subcommittee chose to approve funding for personal assistance services meal preparation, increased Medicaid provider rates, the Community First Choice Option, and the Health Care for Health Care Workers program. In addition to the subcommittee fully supporting our legislative priorities that we entered the session with, we were also able to gain support for a housing bridge assistance program for individuals who will be transferring out of institutions under the Money Follows the Person demonstration program.
The first part of this Legislative session has been quite a success and we should all be thanking the members of the Joint Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. However, we are still only a little over halfway through the session and the budget bill (HB 2) is now on its way to the Senate where it will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee. There is still the very real possibility that some of the gains we have seen could be slashed in the Senate.
This is why it is still so incredibly important for you to stay involved and contact members of the legislature when opportunities arise to help ensure that they understand how important Medicaid and other services are to individuals with disabilities and what it would mean to you if any of the programs you rely upon were cut.
If you would like to follow the Montana’s Centers for Independent Living legislative work please visit our website at: www.summitilc.org/mtcil.html
Also, to learn about opportunities for contacting legislators on issues that affect the lives of individuals with disabilities, please join the Montana Independent Living Action Alert Listserv by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org