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Report: An MT Job is No Medicine for Health Care Crisis

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 By Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Contact
March 14, 2007

Health insurance through work is becoming more and more unlikely in Montana, especially for those earning less than $40,000 a year - according to a report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It's timely information as the Montana legislature struggles with the state budget, including funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which fills in some of the insurance gap. Olivia Ruitta is with Working for Equality and Economic Liberation.

"These are families that get up and go to work every day, and because of the increase in health care costs, their employers are not offering coverage, or else the coverage isn't affordable."

Julia Vincent is the mother of two boys. She works as a teacher aide at Head Start and depends on the state's health insurance safety net for her kids.

"Insurance for dependents is available through my employer, but the cost of monthly premiums, deductibles, and co-pays puts it out of my reach. Without CHIP, I would be unable to meet my sons' medical needs."

Congress is also working on re-authorization of CHIP and Montana Senator Max Baucus says expanding CHIP coverage is his number one priority.

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