Health & Human Services

Medicaid Expansion Initiative Fails to Make Montana Ballot

June 20, 2014
 

An initiative to expand Medicaid coverage to 70,000 low-income Montanans won’t be on the November ballot this year, as supporters Thursday said don’t have enough signatures to qualify Initiative 170 for the ballot.

With today’s deadline looming for turning in the signatures, Kim Abbott, president of Healthy Montana Initiative, the organization behind I-170, said the group is several thousand signatures short.

While supporters are disappointed that “the clock ran out” on the effort, they’ll continue to push to have the 2015 Legislature accept the federal money that would expand Medicaid coverage in Montana, she said.

“We know that Montanans overwhelmingly support expanding Medicaid for 70,000 Montanans,” Abbott said. “We want to be clear that our work will not end until 70,000 of our friends and neighbors have the health care they need and deserve.”

Supporters of I-170 had until today to collect 24,175 signatures of registered Montana voters on petitions to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

Abbott said the volunteer effort had collected about 25,000 unverified signatures by mid-week, but that at least 30 percent of the signatures usually turn out to be invalid, so organizers thought they needed about 32,000 raw signatures to ensure I-170 qualified. That number can’t be reached by Friday, she said.

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