2020 Legislative Week Comments
January 13th – 17th, the Montana state legislature will be meeting in Helena for “Legislative Week,” a new week-long gathering for legislators to receive training, discuss issues, and share information.
Although a Legislative Week has not been held before, and we don’t know exactly how these meetings and discussions will go, we do know that any discussions amongst lawmakers should include the voices and experience of Montanans impacted by the policies being discussed.
One of the main topics to be discussed is “Government Services in Montana.” Legislators will talk about what services are important to their constituents, what levels of services are appropriate, and how we pay for these services. We want to ensure that the stories of people accessing these services are part of the conversation.
Please take a moment to share your story, your thoughts, and/or your support for the important programs and services that Montanans rely on.
These programs and services include, but aren’t limited to:
- Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Healthy Montana Kids
- Offices of Public Assistance – case management and application support
- Access to child care services
- Home and community-based services
- Services for adults and children with disabilities
- Services for seniors
- Workforce training
- Need-based aid for higher education
- Mental health and substance use disorder treatment and services
I’m a mom of three living in Lewistown. My local office of public assistance was so important for me when I needed to apply for SNAP and Healthy Montana Kids. I was able to get assistance with the application forms and help providing the necessary information. Without being able to walk into the office and talk to someone in person, I wouldn’t have been able to access these programs when my kids and I needed them most.
My aging father has been able to stay in his home – which is his wish – because we have access to home-based health services and social programs like Meals on Wheels. I don’t know how we’d be able to afford a nursing home, so these services have been a lifesaver.
I qualified for Medicaid a few years ago. I am a single mom raising two teenagers. When I qualified, I was exhausted and depressed. Although I have a good education, I could not find work that paid well or provided health insurance. I worked as an in-home health assistant and barely survived. If I hadn’t had Medicaid, I would have collapsed.
My oldest daughter is on Medicaid. She has a schizoaffective disorder and is not able to go outside her home some days. She is in no condition to work. The financial gap in our state between those who can afford health insurance and those who do not have access to health coverage is vast. Montana needs to provide healthcare to all its residents and support our social safety nets so that low-wage workers and low-income Montanans have resources when they need them most. No Montanans should live at risk of becoming jobless and without healthcare.
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