Access to physician-assisted death is expanding across the U.S., but the procedure remains in Montana’s legal gray zone more than a decade after the state Supreme Court ruled physicians could use a dying patient’s consent as a defense.
Montana’s pick for health director has garnered both praise and criticism for his past in Kentucky, where he sought to add work requirements to the state’s Medicaid program and was a top health official amid a hepatitis A outbreak.
Montana is one of the latest states looking to aggressively check welfare eligibility to cut costs. Supporters of such steps say it’s about what’s fair — weeding out those who don’t qualify for assistance — while opponents say it will cut loose enrollees who actually need help.
As the newest federally recognized tribe, the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana is starting from scratch to deliver health care to members. While covid-19 has been devastating, it has sped up the tribe’s ability to build a clinic. Yet, lacking a reservation, the tribe faces challenges reaching its scattered members.
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are more likely to have medical conditions that make covid especially dangerous. But a lack of federal tracking means no one knows how many people in disability group housing have fallen ill or died from the virus.
Everyone is trying to figure out how relationships work in the time of covid. That includes a Bozeman, Montana, couple who suddenly found themselves in a long-distance relationship when the pandemic sent their group homes for adults with disabilities into lockdown.
It typically takes years of persuasion to change habits in the name of health safety. Local officials who are stuck with the responsibility of enforcing statewide pandemic-related mandates are trying to transform behavior fast.
Montana is seeking penalties against some businesses that violated its mask and social distancing directives, after months of reluctance to enforce COVID restrictions. Meanwhile, cities, counties and tribal nations still struggle to get people to mask up and avoid crowds.
As the pandemic continues to cast shadows on everyday life, some candidates for governor are talking about everything except the specifics of how they would manage COVID-19 into the future.
When in public, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence join crowded rallies where many do not wear masks. Behind the scenes, the White House is recommending states adopt mask mandates and even fines — leaving it up to local officials to handle the consequences.