MHA President & CEO Rich Rasmussen’s Weekly Update 11.11.22
This week 60% of registered voters turned out to cast votes for members of Congress and for state and local offices. The level of voter participation dropped significantly from the record-high turnout of 76% in the 2020 election.
After a couple of days of counting, the votes are in with Congressman Ryan Zinke elected to the newly created Congressional District 1 and Congressman Matt Rosendale elected to Congressional District 2. Since 1993, Montana has had only one at-large Congressional district. With the awarding of a new Congressional seat based on the 2020 census, Montana now matches the delegation size of our neighbors in Idaho. With an additional seat, we also have the opportunity to have more significant impact in Washington.
Also of particular note was the defeat of LR-131, which would have criminalized caregivers that did not take all measures possible to save the life of an infant born alive, regardless of its viability. In fact, the measurer would have subjected healthcare providers to criminal punishment of 20 years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine.
The legislative election results saw Republicans picking up three Senate seats giving the upper chamber a 34 to 16 Republican advantage. Republicans converted two seats in the House, resulting in a 69 to 31 Republican majority.
This new Super Majority will empower the new Legislature to take initiatives directly to the ballot.
As leaders of our organizations and actively engaged in our communities, the need to reach out to your newly elected lawmakers is critical as the process begins to unfold for the 2023 Legislative Session.
Briefing your legislators on the importance of Medicaid expansion and the HUF program, Montana’s supplemental payment program for Medicaid is essential. These two programs combine to ensure the financial viability of all hospitals in our state. With hospital costs in Montana skyrocketing over $750 million from pre-pandemic levels, Medicaid expansion and HUF are essential to averting unnecessary hospital closures.
So please, take time to brief your legislators. MHA can provide resources to help you tell the story of where we are and share the story of the headwinds we are facing. As we enter the Legislative Session, it’s critical our voices are united to ensure we continue to deliver on Our Promise to improve health and healthcare in Montana.