HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A report released Saturday says that expansion of Medicaid largely paid for with federal money would boost the state economy.
Gov. Steve Bullock is proposing that the state expand Medicaid to about 60,000 more residents with money offered under the federal health care law. The state's share of this expansion would be a small fraction of the overall cost, about $5 million.
The proposal is being eyed with skepticism by Republican legislators. They argue the federal funding could dry up in future years and leave the state with the choice of either paying the bills or cutting people from the program after they become accustomed to it.
The target population for Medicaid expansion is uninsured people making less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $31,809 for a family of four.
Bullock has included the proposal In his budget currently being considered by the Legislature. A U.S. Supreme Court decision last year made the Medicaid expansion optional for states.
A University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Affairs economist says in a 50-page report released Saturday that the federal money attached to expansion would lead to 5,300 new jobs next year. The report was prepared for State Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen.