Some Montana Republicans who voted for tax-payer funded abortions as a part of Medicaid Expansion Renewal in 2019 are seeking reelection. However, their 2019 crossover vote alongside Democrats on the controversial bill may make their primary in 2020 problematic. Some are attempting to rewrite history which, given the facts, will be hard to do.
On March 2, the Montana Daily Gazette published the article, Reminder: These Montana Republicans Voted for Taxpayer Funded Abortions. That post reminded Republicans considering how to vote in the upcoming June 2 primary that Medicaid Expansion Renewal was passed because a certain number of Republicans sided with Democrats. The chief Republican contribution to that bill was a work requirement, which has been overturned by the federal courts. Even more contradictory to Republican principles of smaller government and fewer entitlements is the fact that Medicaid funds abortions in the Big Sky State.
House Republicans who sided with Democrats for the measure include Fred Anderson, Nancy Ballance, David Bedey, Ed Buttrey, Geraldine Custer, Ross Fitzgerald, Rodney Garcia, Frank Garner, Sharon Greef, Bruce Grubbs, Kenneth Holmlund, Mike Hopkins, Llew Jones, Joel Krautter, Wendy McKamey, Denley Loge, Eric Moore, Walt Sales, Ray Shaw, and Tom Welch.
One of those Republicans, Nancy Ballance, claimed on Facebook this morning that Medicaid does not provide tax-payer funded abortion. But careful research determines definitively that is not the case.
Ballance, who has received an F-rating on party loyalty from the independent and impartial Legistats, claimed in her Facebook post, “I have read the vile comments on my Facebook page by individuals who are obviously misinformed. Here is the truth: The Affordable Care Act specifically excludes pregnant women from coverage by Medicaid expansion.”
Ballance went on, “Pregnant women are not covered in Medicaid expansion, therefore abortion is not covered by Medicaid expansion. Anyone who tells you differently is lying and attempting to use you to further their own agenda.”
Unfortunately for Ballance and the other Republicans who voted with Democrats on the bill, nothing could be further from the truth.
A memorandum from Milanovich Law Firm to Jeff Laszloffy of the Montana Family Foundation dated June 24, 2019, says clearly, “Does Medicaid cover abortions and gender reassignment surgery? As explained more fully below, the answer is yes.”
Attorney Anita Milanovich explains, “Regarding abortion, fifteen states, including Montana, pay for medically necessary abortions under Medicaid, which accounts for 15.6% of all abortions performed each year. Montana pays for such abortions because a Montana district court found it was legally required to do so. Neither the 2015 nor the 2019 Medicaid expansion bills affected a change in this coverage.”
The facts demonstrate that because of a 1995 ruling in Montana district court which struck down a state administrative regulation restricting Montana’s Medicaid Coverage, it dictated that abortion had to be provided for abortions that were “medically necessary.” However, as explained in the law firm’s memorandum, that term, “medically necessary” is loosely defined at best.
The end result is that Medicaid is paying for many, many abortions in the Big Sky State. It seems that Republicans who voted for Medicaid Expansion Renewal, like Nancy Ballance, either didn’t consider the unborn when they voted with the Democrat caucus or they didn’t care.
Additionally, Medicaid pays for bodily mutilation surgeries for those who identify as ‘transgender’ and as of 2014, 70% of those seeking such surgeries are on Medicaid or Medicare.
Although Ballance and other Republicans who sided with Democrats on the entitlement program might like to claim that complaints about their support for taxpayer-funded abortions are “lying,” the facts support the accusations and not the accused.
Part of Ballance’s perceived anger towards Montana voters on the issue might be due to the fact that she’s in a heavily contested race with a conservative candidate, Theresa Manzella, for Senate District 44. Manzella opposed the 2019 measure along with the majority of Montanans who voted down Medicaid expansion in 2018.
Manzella says on her campaign website, “I believe it’s my civic duty to give the good citizens of the district a choice between two Republican candidates with very different ideas of what it means to be a Republican.”