February 18, 2009                                                         Contact:Lucas Hamilton

Lindeen Blasts Cuts to Health Care for Children and Small Businesses


      Sweeping cuts ignore Montanans in Need
      
      Today, State Auditor Monica Lindeen blasted the action of legislative budget panels that refused funding for the voter-approved initiative extending health coverage to 29,000 Montana uninsured kids, and refused funding that would allow 600 Montana small businesses and their families to participate in Insure Montana, the successful tax credit and premium assistance program.
      
      "Twice today, legislative subcommittees struck a blow to Montanans in need," said Lindeen. "It is unfortunate that these legislators showed such indifference to the thousands of Montana kids and small businesses in need of affordable health care."
      
      "Lawmakers who balk at making healthcare a priority should be prepared to explain themselves to the citizens of Montana," said Lindeen. "In these economic times, this is a heavy blow to the pocketbooks of Montana families."
      
      Lindeen said that although the committee cut the Insure Montana funding from House Bill 2, health care advocates and small businesses remain hopeful that the legislature will approve HB 258, sponsored by Rep. Bill McChesney (D-Miles City), an alternate funding bill for the Insure Montana program.