Montana Public Radio

University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research

Medicaid expansion in Montana is expected to cost the state more than $58 million annually in a couple of years. But, a new economic analysis says the healthcare program in on track to pay for itself by then through savings in other parts of the state budget and increased economic activity.

Gov. Bullock signs the Medicaid expansion plan into law, April 29, 2015 at the state Capitol. The bill's sponsor Sen. Ed Buttrey, and supporter Stephanie Wallace look on.
Steve Jess

Governor Steve Bullock is praising a new report outlining the economic benefits of Medicaid expansion in Montana. The program expanding health insurance coverage for people with low incomes is set to expire next year unless it’s reauthorized by state lawmakers.

Hospital monitor.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

The hundreds of millions of federal tax dollars that Medicaid expansion is bringing to Montana have added thousands of jobs here and significantly boosted the state’s economy. It’s enough of a boost to pay for Montana’s share of the jointly-funded health program.

That’s according to a new report by Economist Bryce Ward with the UM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. He summarized it for a legislative oversight committee Thursday.

House for sale.
(PD)

Whitefish is setting the pace for growth in home prices in northwest Montana, and economists say housing markets in Flathead County are looking healthy. MTPR's Nicky Ouellet reports from the 2018 Economic Outlook Seminar in Kalispell.

Drivers of economic activity in Flathead County.
UM Bureau of Business and Economic Research

Health care has emerged as a major driver of the Flathead Valley economy, researchers from the University of Montana and local experts said Tuesday. MTPR's Nicky Ouellet reports from the 2018 Economic Outlook Seminar in Kalispell.

Wind turbines.
(PD)

Coal powered energy does not behave like wind and solar energy. Economists at the University of Montana say this means extra costs are tacked on to renewable energy as demand for it grows. But renewable energy advocates are critical of this analysis.

Patrick Barkey, director of the BBER, presenting the 2018 Montana Economic report in Helena, Tuesday, January 23, 2018.
Corin Cates-Carney

University of Montana researchers expect the state’s economy to kick up this year, following a lackluster performance in 2016 and 2017.

Although earnings in Montana grew over the last two years, those earnings fell short of projections made by researchers at UM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

House for sale.
(PD)

Real estate markets in much of Montana are booming, according to University of Montana researchers. But the strong rise in housing prices since the great recession is creating an issue of affordability.

Wheat.
(PD)

Montana farmers can expect strong prices for their wheat and barley moving forward following the drought in 2017 that reduced grain production in the state by about 40 percent.

Steady and slightly higher prices in wheat, barley and pulse crops markets are expected over the next five years, according to a forecast from Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana.

Oil well.
(PD)

Crude oil prices hit a new high Wednesday. MTPR's Edward O’Brien has more on what that means for consumers and what’s left of Montana’s oil producers

U.S. crude notched above $61 a barrel, Wednesday. That’s the first time that’s happened in two-and-a-half years.

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