Oboz Footwear, the True to the Trail® outdoor footwear company headquartered in Bozeman, has hired Rich Hohne as its Director of Marketing.  Hohne joins Oboz from Simms Fishing Products. Amy Beck is Oboz Footwear president. Hohne spent over ten years at Simms.

The core area of North Dakota’s Bakken was rocking in October as the state set new records for oil and natural gas production. According to Lynn Helms, North Dakota Mineral Resources director. “For the first time ever, the state had over 1.5 million barrels per day of oil production” – a five percent increase over the previous month. During October four counties in North Dakota produced 44,826,235 of the state’s total production o 47,051,671 and 91,817, 410 mcf of the state’s total natural gas production, 95,189,103 mcf.

North Dakota reports that it has at least 14,749 job openings and an unemployment rate of 2.5 percent.

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) will hold an open house for the sidewalk and shared-use path project proposed in Columbus. The open house will be held January 14 from 6- 8 p.m. at the Columbus City Hall, Council Meeting Room, 2nd Floor (408 East 1st Avenue North). 

Bundles of Dickinson Press newspapers were found in the dumpsters behind the Dickinson Post Office. The bundles of papers were unopened and therefore undelivered. The United States Postal Service says it is investigating irregularities in mail delivery service in Dickinson. Staff from competing newspapers checked the garbage bins behind the Dickinson post office, where hundreds of newspapers — still bundled, unopened — were found. Other undelivered mail pieces were found with the newspapers.

The Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport will expand its service to two major hubs this summer. The airport will almost double the number of passengers it can carry daily to and from Seattle on Alaska Airlines and will change its Delta Airlines service to Atlanta from seasonal to daily beginning this summer. Alaska Airlines, which offers four daily flights to Seattle from Bozeman and back has upgraded the equipment used on two of those flights.

Nick Alonzo has operated Montana Simulcast Racing, LLC, since 2012, but he has decided to close the business. Simulcast racing was a key contributor to purses at the  live race meets held each year in Miles City and Great Falls. These events have been funded by the Montana Board of Horse Racing even if there is no simulcast provider.

Ben Eisinger opened the True Water fly-fishing shop in downtown Kalispell after 25 years selling automobiles. True Water Fly Shop is located at 35 Fourth St. W. in Kalispell.

According to Glacier Park press releases park-goers should essentially steer clear of the Many Glacier end of the park for the next two seasons while the road, receives an overdue major reconstruction. The project will “significantly increase travel times to the Many Glacier area,” and visitors should expect “travel delays of up to 40 minutes each way from Babb to the Many Glacier Hotel.” The entire Many Glacier Campground will transfer to reservation only in order to reduce congestion in the area.

By Bethany Blankley, The Center Square

A new report by the nonpartisan think tank The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) says that Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act is like “Medicare for All Lite,” which has created nothing but “disastrous results.”

If the remaining non-expansion states were to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, FGA argues, about 2 million able-bodied adults risk losing their private insurance. They would then be shifted onto Medicaid and receive less quality care, placing a larger financial burden onto taxpayers.

In “Forced Into Welfare: How Medicaid Expansion Will Kick Millions Of Americans Off Of Private Insurance,” the authors note that the majority of able-bodied adults targeted to enroll in Medicaid already have affordable private insurance through an exchange program.

According to an earlier FGA analysis, nearly 54 percent of potential Medicaid expansion enrollees were already insured, and in some states like Wisconsin, the number was as high as 71 percent.

Chris Jacobs, senior fellow at the New Orleans-based Pelican Institute for Public Policy, reported on the crisis of Louisiana residents being forced to drop their private insurance to enroll in Medicaid, creating a phenomenon known as “crowd out.” After reviewing public records from the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), Jacobs found that 15,000 people dropped their private insurance to enroll in Medicaid every month throughout 2017.

“Crowd out populations pose big potential costs for Louisiana taxpayers,” Jacobs said. “In 2015, the Legislative Fiscal Office assumed that if Louisiana expanded Medicaid, the state would spend between $900 million and $1.3 billion over five years providing Medicaid coverage to individuals with prior health coverage.”

The average expansion enrollee cost per person is $6,286.20 per year in Louisiana, Jacobs calculates based on LDH testimony given to the House Appropriations Committee earlier this year.

Multiplying this average cost-per-enrollee by the number of individuals who dropped private coverage, according to last year’s LSU Health Insurance Survey, the Pelican Institute estimates the potential cost to state and federal taxpayers is $461.6 million per year.

Similar patterns are occurring nationwide, the FGA report notes. Economists, including Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber, have concluded that Medicaid expansions in the late 1990s and early 2000s created a crowd-out effect of roughly 60 percent. In other words, for every 10 new Medicaid enrollees, six left private insurance plans, FGA said.