Last Wednesday, the Census Bureau released new data on health insurance rates, showing the benefit of health care reform and growing coverage in states that have expanded Medicaid.
Health care reform is working in Montana. The Affordable Care Act has increased the number of people insured by offering people access to health care coverage through the health insurance marketplace. Through the marketplace, people can easily compare prices and benefits of health care plans. For individuals that make too much to get care through Medicaid but don’t make enough to afford private insurance through the market place, federal subsidies help them pay their premiums and reduce their out-of-pocket health costs. As a result, an additional 22,000 Montanans had health insurance in 2014.
Health care reform has also strengthened Medicaid. The 25 states that have expanded Medicaid to include more people collectively had a higher share of people with insurance than the other 26 that did not expand Medicaid, and that gap is growing. Estimates suggest that if the 26 states had expanded Medicaid, an additional 2.6 million Americans would have gained health insurance last year.
Medicaid is good for people, communities, and states. Medicaid has been improving people’s lives by providing affordable health care that boosts state economies for the last 50 years. Once CMS approves Montana’s waiver, an additional 70,000 residents - who previously couldn’t afford health insurance- will finally have access to quality and cost-effective insurance and a greater share of our state’s population will be insured.
This new health insurance coverage data suggests health reform increases opportunities for affordable and quality health care for millions of Americans. We look forward to an additional 70,000 Montanans receiving health insurance coverage once CMS approves the state’s waiver.
MBPC is a nonprofit organization focused on providing credible and timely research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues that impact low- and moderate-income Montana families.