By Amy Beth Hanson

Gov. Steve Bullock signed a bill Thursday to continue Montana’s Medicaid expansion program for another six years, as long as federal funding continues.

He was joined at the signing ceremony by bill sponsor Republican Rep. Ed Buttrey and Democratic Rep. Mary Caferro, who sponsored a separate bill that did not pass.

The bill continues the program, which began in 2016, and provides health insurance to about 95,000 low-income adults. It would have ended on June 30 if lawmakers had not reached an agreement. He also held ceremonial signings for other bills to lower health insurance and prescription drug costs.

“These bills continue the progress our state has made in recent years to provide quality and affordable health care to Montanans, and they will further our efforts to increase access, reduce costs, and improve the quality of care,” Bullock said. “By finding common ground and taking much-needed action now, we continue to be an example for other states to follow.”

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.