Without action from the 2019 Montana Legislature, the HELP Act, which authorized Medicaid expansion in Montana, will expire in July.
Independent research shows that Medicaid expansion has brought more than $600 million in economic activity to Montana, supported well over 5,000 jobs and increased access to preventive healthcare and life-saving screenings that build a healthier workforce. 3 in 5 Montana businesses have an employee enrolled in Medicaid thanks to expansion.
If the Montana legislature fails to continue Medicaid expansion it will result in:
- Hundreds of thousands of missed opportunities to detect cancer early, receive outpatient mental health care, receive preventive care before a medical emergency;
- Higher rates of uncompensated care which drives up health care costs for everyone and harms the viability of our rural hospitals;
- Higher health care costs for our small businesses; and
- Our federal taxpayer dollars will go to other states to cover their expanded Medicaid.
Lawmakers have a unique opportunity to work together in a bipartisan fashion to fundamentally shift Montana's health care system away from costly "sick care" toward more efficient and effective "well care." The key element is coverage, which increases access to care and preventive services.
Expanded coverage through Medicaid expansion is:
- Good for patients - providing preventative care to more than 95,000 Montanans
- Good for local businesses - 18,000 Montana businesses are benefiting from a healthier workforce;
- Good for working Montanans - 84% of Medicaid expansion participants are working, going to school or caretakers for their family;
- Good for Montana - guards against runaway premiums for all of us, while improving the health of our state to its highest level in more than a decade
- Good for our communities - protects and enhances health services for communities both big and small, by reducing the number of uninsured patients and uncompensated care that lead to cuts or closure impacting everyone; and
- Good for our economy - contributing 6,000 new jobs, $350 million in personal income and $30.5 million in new state tax revenues.
Without health insurance, Montanans are more likely to seek the wrong care, at the wrong time and at the wrong place--with poorer outcomes and higher costs.
Bottom line: Coverage is the keystone to improving the health of our residents, increasing the efficiency of our health care system and decreasing costs for consumers, businesses and the state.
Contact your legislator today and tell them that Montana Medicaid works and we cannot afford to turn back the clock on the HELP Act. Urge them to work on a bipartisan solution to continue Medicaid expansion.