Feb 22, 2013 4:20 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
HELENA - Montana Republicans and Democratic Governor Steve Bullock are both taking credit for finding a solution to fund a state-run health insurance program.
House Majority Leader Representative Gordon Vance (R-Bozeman) says Bullock proposed to cut the Insure Montana program, and Republicans have found a way to fund it.
It's a program which uses tobacco taxes to subsidize small group health insurance plans.
Bullock's office proposed to fund the program with $13 million, a $5 million cut from the previous budget.
"We do not find a temporary solution to be acceptable. So I have been working with the Auditor's office to see if we could up with the rest of the money that was necessary to fully fund this program through the biennium. I'm here to report today that we were successful," Vance said.
Bullock spokesperson Kevin O'Brien issued a statement Thursday saying the Bullock wants all Montanans to have access to affordable health insurance and that's why he worked closely with State Auditor Monica Lindeen to come up with a funding solution.
O'Brien also says the governor is pleased that the House leaders agree that this program deserves full funding.
There are currently 8,000 Montanans insured through Insure Montana.