Skip to content

News Press Release

Medicaid Expansion Repeal Impacts Press Release

Medicaid Expansion Repeal Impacts Press Release

A New Report Analyzes the Impacts for Montana if Medicaid Expansion is Repealed.

Bozeman, Mont., (March 6, 2017) – An independent report projects that over 71,000 newly insured Montanans could lose access to medical care and that the state could lose over $284 million in critical health care funding if Congress repeals the Medicaid expansion. The Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) allowed states to extend Medicaid coverage to adults with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty line. In 2015, Montana took advantage of this opportunity through the bipartisan Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership (HELP) Act. This report, commissioned by the Montana Healthcare Foundation and produced by Manatt Health, analyzes the impacts of Montana’s recent Medicaid expansion, and the potential consequences if Congress repeals the program.

Key findings in the report include:

  • Over 30,000 newly insured adults accessed preventive services (such as cancer and diabetes screening and dental visits) in the first year, which has the potential to prevent many more serious and costly illnesses in the future.
  • Montana’s hospitals experienced a 25% decline in bad debt and charity care. This is particularly important for many rural critical access hospitals that were struggling to keep their doors open to serve rural and frontier communities throughout the state.
  • Montana’s state government saved over $22 million in the first year as adults who previously received limited state benefits became eligible for the new program.
  • During the first six months of expansion, the Department of Corrections saved $1.3 million through Medicaid coverage for inmate hospitalizations, enabling the Department to reduce its supplemental budget request.
  • The Medicaid expansion created a new tool to combat substance abuse, one of the most deadly and expensive health problems in Montana, as shown by criminal justice, foster care, and health statistics.
  • Prior to the Medicaid expansion, most Indian Health Service facilities in Montana were only able to refer patients for specialty care “when life or limb was at risk.” The Medicaid expansion has allowed access to cancer screenings and critically needed procedures for American Indians.

The HELP Act has strengthened Montana’s healthcare system, improved access to care, and provided a critical opportunity to make progress on substance abuse. This carefully researched report provides information that policymakers should consider in any plan to repeal or replace Montana’s Medicaid expansion.

Dr. Aaron Wernham,
Montana Healthcare Foundation CEO 

The Montana Healthcare Foundation contracted with nationally recognized experts from Manatt Health to analyze the impact of a Medicaid repeal for Montana.

Like all 31 states that have expanded Medicaid under the ACA, Montana has seen the impact of expansion ripple through the economy and the state’s health care system, benefiting patients, providers and the state treasury. All of the positive impacts detailed in the report are at stake in federal conversations about a possible repeal of Medicaid expansion.

Deborah Bachrach,
Manatt Health Partner & Report Co-Author 

Read the full report by Manatt Health here.