Montana has the chance to provide 70,000 people with high-quality health coverage by accepting federal funding to expand Medicaid to those whose incomes are less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level. For a single person, this means earning less than $15,857, and for a family a three, less than $26,951.
Here’s why it’s such a good idea:
1. It will support our economy and help create jobs.
Offering more people health coverage through Medicaid would bring in nearly $6 billion in federal funds to Montana between now and 2021. This will help strengthen our economy, by providing insurance to workers in Montana’s key industries, such as tourism, construction, and ranching. Additionally, expansion will help bring 12,000 jobs to our state annually.
2. It will benefit Indian Country.
Over half of Montana’s American Indians between the ages of 18-64 lack health coverage. But with expansion, nearly 20,000 American Indians in Montana will be eligible to enroll in Medicaid. Expansion will also provide a much needed economic boost to tribal communities. Additionally, it will help to improve services at Indian Health Services (IHS) facilities by freeing up funds for essential services such as mammograms that had been previously spent on the uninsured.
3. Veterans and their families will have better access to health care.
Montana has the highest percentage of uninsured veterans (17.3 percent) in the country. Even for those with coverage through Veterans Affairs, Montana VA facilities are few and far between, making it difficult for many veterans to get the care they need. With expansion, approximately 9,500 veterans and their families will gain access to health care.
4. Medicaid is quality health care.
Medicaid is an effective and efficient program. Not only does it improve access to health care and the health of those who use it, it also delivers high-quality insurance with significantly lower administrative costs than private insurance.
5. It will improve the lives and health of tens of thousands of Montanans.
Most importantly, expanding Medicaid would improve the lives and the health of 70,000 Montanans, helping to build healthy communities and a stronger state. It’s time for Montana to act.
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.