Montana Prohibit State Resources for Affordable Care Act Initiative (2014)

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The Montana Prohibit State Resources for Affordable Care Act, Initiative 171 will not appear on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Montana as an initiated state statute. The measure would have prohibited the use of state resources to implement, administer and enforce the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," and to expand Medicaid.[1] The measure would also provide a tax credit for those who are not enrolled and suffered a federal tax penalty for not doing so.[2]

Text of measure

The ballot question would have read as follows:[3]

I‐171 prohibits the State of Montana and its political subdivisions from using funds, personnel or other resources to administer or enforce the federal Affordable Care Act. I‐ 171 prohibits expansion of the Montana Medicaid program as provided under the Affordable Care Act. I‐171 further prohibits the state and its political subdivisions from planning, creating or participating in a health insurance exchange.

The state would save approximately $1.92 billion in state revenues and lose $4.75 billion in federal revenues over five years based on an assumption that the federal government would end the state’s Medicaid Plan, Children’s Health Insurance Plan, and several other programs due to noncompliance with the Affordable Care Act.
[ ] YES on Constitutional Initiative I‐171.
[ ] NO on Constitutional Initiative I‐171.[4]




  • Sponsor Matthew Monforton argued, "The federal government is entitled to enforce Obamacare … but it is not entitled to commandeer state resources to do. If President Obama wants Obamacare in Montana, he has to pay for it — he can’t force Montanans to pay for it."[5]



  • Montana Women Vote[6]


  • Sarah Howell, executive director of Montana Women Vote, said, "This (proposed measure) goes further than just preventing Medicaid expansion and dismantles existing programs that Montana families and kids use to access health care. That’s something we won’t stand for."[6]


Opponents, including Montana Women Votes, asked the Montana Supreme Court to disqualify the proposed measure. Their petition to the court claimed that the initiative is “legally insufficient” and unconstitutional. Matthew Monforton, a Bozeman attorney who helped write the Medicaid Expansion Initiative, said the ballot language is misleading and contains an incorrect fiscal impact statement. Furthermore, the petitioners claim that the initiative violates the state’s single-subject clause for ballot measures.[6] In a 5-0 ruling, the supreme court denied the case. Justice Beth Baker said, "We conclude that none of these constitutional claims meets the definition of a legal deficiency within the scope of the attorney general’s authority on review of a proposed ballot measure."[7]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Montana

Attorney Matthew Monforton of Bozeman sponsored the initiative and submitted documents to the Office of the Secretary of State on December 18, 2013. On March 10, 2014, the initiative was approved for circulation.

To gain ballot access for the November 2014 ballot, supporters were required to collect valid signatures from ten percent of the total number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial general election, including ten percent of the voters in each of the forty legislative house districts. In total, supporters needed to collect 24,174 valid signatures. Those signatures needed to be submitted by the petition drive deadline on June 20, 2014.

The initiative did not meet the signature threshold to make the ballot.[8]

See also

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