On March 16, I attended the hearings on Medicaid expansion in Helena. During the hearing, it was obvious, the truth is in the details.
The facts are that during the past three years, 150,000 Montanans have benefited from Montana Medicaid expansion, of which 50,000 have transitioned through and out of Medicaid expansion into jobs that enable these citizens to have their own insurance. This leaves 96,000 currently benefitting from Medicaid expansion. That is a successful program.
Of these 96,000 it is estimated that 2-3 percent should not be included in the program. These 2,000-3,000 Montanans who are gaming the system is not a good reason to implement onerous and expensive work requirements that have been shown to fail in Arkansas and Kentucky. HB 658 includes 22 ways a person can lose their benefits for up to six months if they fail to return a form or miss answering a question. Can you imagine the stress and turmoil these requirements would pose to the 93,000 legitimate recipients who struggle to provide healthcare for their families.
All Montanans have benefited from Medicaid expansion, including those of us that use our urban and rural hospitals, veterans, tribal members, and young struggling families. Montana taxpayers currently pay 6 percent of the Medicaid expansion costs to the tune of about $25 per month per enrollee, while the federal government covers the remainder. Although state costs will gradually increase to a maximum of 10 percent, this is still a great deal for our struggling neighbors, friends and families that need health care coverage.
Support HB 425. It is the right thing to do.