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A Plan to Cut Montana's Medicaid Waiting List Was Met With Bipartisan Cheers. Then a Veto.

Montana state Sen. Becky Beard thought she’d found a fix for a shortage of assisted living care options for Montanans who can’t afford to pay for it themselves — a shortage she became aware of while searching for a suitable place for her mother to live.

Beard, a Republican from the rural town of Elliston, ushered a bill through the GOP-controlled legislature this spring. The proposal would have moved more than 200 people off waiting lists for government-supported care and saved the state money by accessing more federal Medicaid money to cover their costs and the cost of those already in assist...