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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Report: 142,000 Montanans Could Lose Coverage If Obamacare Repealed

Montana's uninsured rate before and after Medicaid expansion.
Montana Budget and Policy Center
A graph from the Montana Budget and Policy Center's New Report

If Congress and the Trump administration repeal the Affordable Care Act, 142,000 Montanans could potentially lose their health insurance coverage.

That’s according toa new report from the Montana Budget and Policy Center.

The healthcare law that Republicans have vowed to repeal includes the major expansion of Medicaid that Montana signed onto last year. The Budget and Policy Center’s Heather O’Loughlin says repealing Obamacare would end that.

"In Montana there are approximately 61,000 Montanans that have gained healthcare coverage through Medicaid expansion," O'Loughlin says, "that number is slated to continue to increase, we know that there is upwards of 70,000 or a little more than that eligible for Medicaid expansion."

O’Loughlin said another 52,000 Montanans who get Affordable Care Act subsidies to help them buy private health insurance would lose them if the law is repealed.The federal government says that 83 percent of Montanans who buy coverage through get subsidies, and that most people who do can get a policy for less than $75 a month.

The Budget and Policy Center's report says 8,000 Native Americans in Montana would likely lose their health coverage if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

The report by the Montana Budget and Policy Center says that’s how many Indian people have enrolled in Medicaid since Montana expanded it last year as part of Obamacare.

"There’s also a lot of questions about what the repeal of the Affordable Care Act means for the Indian Health Service," O'Loughlin says.

Right now, it can mean significantly more revenue for IHS and tribal health facilities, because they can bill Medicaid. That potentially goes away with an Obamacare repeal.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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