A new report says Montana stands to lose more than $284 million in healthcare funding if Congress repeals the Medicaid expansion that’s part of the Affordable Care Act.
The Montana Healthcare Foundation commissioned the study. It says that since Montana joined federal Medicaid expansion in 2015, more than 71,000 Montanans have signed on to Medicaid coverage. It says more than 30,000 Montana adults have used that coverage to access preventive care.
Critics of Medicaid expansion say it will cost Montana tens of millions of dollars in the future. In 2020, the state becomes responsible for ten percent of expansion costs. Right now the federal government is paying the whole tab.
"Our standpoint is that, ultimately, if we’re seeing the pattern continue where we’re getting people in for preventive care earlier, that’s ultimately going to have a positive impact on reducing more expensive hospitalizations, ER care, reducing some of the very costly consequences of substance abuse and mental illness," says foundation CEO Dr. Aaron Wernham.
Wernham says the foundation’s report was not produced with any politically partisan intent. He says the foundation advocates for improving health in Montana.