Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - President Trump pulls the U.S. out of the Iran deal. Also on the rundown: Facing huge deficit, Trump cuts CHIP funding;
and tariffs on newsprint could mean fewer journalists and newspapers.
Big Sky Connection
May 8, 2018
HELENA, Montana - According to the Trump administration, states can impose work requirements on Native Americans who receive Medicaid - a move that could spell doom for some tribal health services.
On Monday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma reaffirmed it would work with states to impose requirements on Native Americans.
Eliot Fishman, policy director of the consumer health advocacy group Families USA says tribal health services financially rely on insurance payments from patients to stay open because they get such little funding from Indian Health Service. He says people dropped off Medicaid would also cut into funds for these health providers.
"Essentially, whatever funds they don't have, they do not provide care," he says. "People who need care go without. So there are absolutely lives literally at stake at every tribal health provider in the country that is tied to these potential new limitations on funding."
Montana hasn't announced plans to require work, although state lawmakers attempted to do so when Montana expanded Medicaid in 2015. With Medicaid expansion up for renewal in 2019, some state lawmakers have suggested work requirements should be on the table if the program is to be extended.
Fishman says it's still unclear whether states can legally impose work requirements on anyone. Tribes also have a government-to-government relationship with the United States, further complicating how such a measure would be implemented.
For instance, states are legally forbidden to impose Medicaid cost-sharing measures on Native Americans enrolled in the program. But if states do work on these issues, Fishman says it isn't the work requirements that will keep people off the Medicaid rolls.
"A huge number of additional people, typically a lot more than the people who don't satisfy the new requirement, are the people who aren't able to submit their documentation or their documentation gets bogged down in paper review, he explains.
There are about 70,000 Native Americans in Montana.
May 6, 2018
(Gallatin County, Mont) The Montana Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony is Tuesday. In the morning, there will be a procession through the memorial sites for Deputy Mason Moore and Trooper David Dalaittre and then through Three Forks. There will be traffic delays along US 287 from I-90 to MT Highway 2 and through Three Forks back to I-90, 10:30-11:00. There will be honor guards posted at both memorials 10:00-11:00. The public is invited to line the route at 10:30 and to visit the memorial sites throughout the day to honor Deputy Moore and Trooper Delaittre.
The ceremony will be held at the Commons at Baxter and Love, starting with the honor guard entrance at 1:00. The public is invited to join local and state law enforcement for the ceremony to honor those who have served, continue to serve, and most importantly those who lost their lives serving their community, as well as their survivors. Anyone coming for the ceremony is asked to enter the parking lot from Baxter Lane. There will be heavy law enforcement presence and traffic delays around the Commons 12:00-3:00.
BUTTE, MT— The Emergency Management of the City-County of Butte-Silver Bow recommends that residents of Melrose prepare for flood watch conditions that may start as early as May 9th, 2018. Sand and sandbags will be available to the public at no charge and can be found at the Melrose Firehall. The City-County of Butte-Silver Bow recommends that the sand and sandbags be used in protecting structures from possible flood waters. It is also recommended that residents move stock, farm equipment, and feed from low-lying areas. For more information on sand and sandbags please call 406-497-6565. For emergency flooding issues please contact the 911 Dispatch. The City-County of Butte-Silver Bow also encourages all Melrose resident to visit http://mt-buttesilverbow2.civicplus.com/724/Floods to find information about preparing for a flood.
May 3, 2018
Story and Photo courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff's Office
Saturday, April 28, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue recovered the remains of Dr. Patrick J. Fitzpatrick, of Bismarck, ND. His vehicle was discovered stuck in a field south of Willow Creek on July 4, 2015. At that time searchers combed the area for four days, using ground crews, search dogs, helicopters, airplanes, and drones, but were unable to find him. The public provided multiple leads and sightings over the next few months, all of which were followed up by Sheriff’s Investigators. The Sheriff’s Office, with Search and Rescue volunteers continued to analyze data and develop new search plans. In March 2017, a large ground search intensively covered the drainages north of the vehicle including using SAR divers to search Willow Creek and a nearby pond but nothing was found.
Last month, SAR deputies and search managers tried again. With no progress on any of the leads, they reviewed what had been done and thought about what else they could try. Last Saturday, 26 searchers, 8 dogs, and several GCSO deputies covered that area. A bloodhound found Dr. Fitzgerald’s remains approximately a mile east of his vehicle on a rolling hillside, in a spot that hid it from view from any distance.
Sheriff Gootkin said, “We are pleased that we could bring Dr. Fitzpatrick’s family some closure. The state medical examiner’s office will perform the examination of the remains but at this time, there is no indication of foul play. Missing person investigations are very difficult. We used every tool we had and even used some technology from Bridger Aerospace without success but we never gave up. Hundreds of man hours were expended on this case and I want to thank the Search and Rescue volunteers for their dedication.”
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