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Governor Bullock Touts Economic Benefits of Medicaid Expansion

New report to preview benefits of Medicaid on workforce participation, health coverage, and Montana’s overall economy

Thursday, March 8, 2018/Categories: Governor's Office/Tags:

Governor Steve Bullock today touted the economic benefits of Medicaid expansion in Montana, ahead of a new economic analysis by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. 

“Medicaid expansion is a good deal for Montana. We worked in a bipartisan, innovative way to put folks to work all across the state in good-paying jobs, leave more money in the pockets of Montanans, and ensure our children and families receive access to health care,” said Governor Bullock. “This report demonstrates that Medicaid expansion is not only important to the health of our friends and neighbors, it’s important to the health of our economy.” 

The report finds that Medicaid expansion benefits Montana’s overall economy:

  • Medicaid expansion brings home federal dollars. Medicaid expansion infuses over $500 million in health care dollars to the state’s economy.
  • Approximately 70% of Medicaid spending is new to Montana, bringing money into Montana’s economy that would otherwise not be here.
  • Medicaid expansion reduces state spending, including on traditional Medicaid, at over $40 million to date. Montana Department of Corrections saved an additional $7.6 million in health care on inmates.
  • Medicaid expansion generates approximately 5,000 jobs annually and nearly $300 million in personal income.

The report finds that Medicaid expansion increases workforce participation:

  • The HELP-Link program and access to health coverage with Medicaid expansion helped to increase labor force participation among low-income Montanans by 6% to 9%.

The report also finds that Medicaid expansion reduces medical debts, prevents bankruptcies, and improves credit scores among-low income families. It also reduces crime. 

The Montana Department of Labor & Industry found that during 2016, 78% of HELP-Link participants who received intensive services found employment and 72% of employed participants who did not need extensive services had higher wages after completing the HELP-Link program, by an average increase of $1,680. HELP-Link is a job services program administered by the Department of Labor & Industry that connects expansion enrollees with workforce training, employment services, and job openings.

Medicaid expansion ensures that someone making less than $16,000 a year who gets a promotion or a raise, or just takes on more hours at work, doesn't lose their health care just because they chose to work harder. Medicaid coverage helps people who do work stay on the job by getting them treatment for medical needs before they become costly complications down the road.

Governor Bullock worked with Republican and Democratic legislators to pass the Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership (HELP) Act, an innovative approach to Medicaid expansion. This has led to a dramatic drop in the number of Montanans without insurance. Over 90,000 Montanans have gained access to health care and the uninsured rate in Montana has dropped from a staggering 20% in 2013 to 7% in 2016.

The report was funded by the Montana Health Care Foundation and Headwaters Community Foundation. The Bureau of Business and Economic Research conducted the economic analysis and provided a sneak preview of the data from the report at today’s HELP Oversight Committee Meeting.

You can listen to the meeting here or view the presentation at this link.  

The full report will be published in the near future.


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