Medicaid expansion

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

Backers of Montana’s seven-month-old Medicaid expansion say they’re pleased with the first set of financial data released this week.

State figures say enrollment as of July is nearly double initial projections, at 47,399 of the 25,000 who were expected to enroll by now.

More than 47,000 Montanans have enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program state lawmakers narrowly approved last year. The state health department reported updated numbers to the legislative committee that oversees Medicaid expansion today.

The number of Montanans without health insurance has dropped by half in the last year. That's according to State Auditor Monica Lindeen.

A new survey done by the University of Montana and Stanford University reveals some surprising opinions on health care in Montana. The statewide representative sample poll was done over landlines and cell phones in February in advance of a conference last week at UM.

Montana DPHHS

The special state committee set up to oversee Medicaid expansion in Montana got its first progress report since expansion began January 1.

"This is just incredible success we’re having," Marie Matthews with the state health department told the committee. "This program has already saved the state general fund about $3 million," she said.

Enrollment in Montana’s expanded Medicaid program is exceeding expectations, and so far has refunded $3 million to the state’s general fund.

That’s according to officials with the state health department who briefed a special expansion oversight committee today.

Montana Capitol
William Marcus

Tuesday health care officials and lawmakers are meeting in the capitol for a progress report on Medicaid expansion in Montana. Montana’s expansion, also known as the HELP Act, was signed into law just under a year ago.

Senator Steve Daines Wednesday criticized the Indian Health Service for what he says is too much spending on administration and not enough on actual health care.

Governor Bullock & Pam Bucy launching the HELP-Link program Feb. 08, 2015 in Great Falls.
Corin Cates-Carney

On Monday, the next phase of Montana’s Medicaid expansion was announced at a job service center in Great Falls. Expanding Medicaid under the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act was a hard sell to Montana Republicans in the 2015 legislature until Republican Senator Ed Buttrey introduced a workforce initiative into the healthcare bill, among other changes.

UM economist Bryce Ward says Montana will need 16,000 additional healthcare workers by 2025.
(PD)

Audio Pending...

Growing demand for healthcare means that Montana is going to need 40 percent more healthcare workers in a decade than it has now. That’s according to University of Montana Economist Bryce Ward. He says that just to meet the projected growth in demand, the state will need 7,000 more healthcare workers by 2025.

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