A new survey commissioned by the Montana Healthcare Foundation, almost half of the respondents reported an improvement in their general health since enrolling in Montana’s Medicaid expansion program.

Foundation CEO Aaron Wernham explained the results of the study, released just as the Montana Legislature determines the future of the Medicaid expansion program.

“One of the big questions about this program when the legislature authorized it almost three years ago was whether having the program would actually translate into people being able to get care,” said Wernham. “In a rural state like Montana it’s not a given that just having coverage means you can walk into an office somewhere and get an appointment, so we did a survey with the Montana department of Health and Human Services of Medicaid Expansion recipients and found that about 70 percent of them report that they have had a much easier time getting in for appointments now that this has improved their access to medical and dental care, as well.”

Wernham said the survey proves that the desired outcome of the program is being achieved.

“The other exciting this about this report is that already a little over two and a half years into the Medicaid Expansion that we’re seeing that a lot of people, nearly half, are reporting that their health has improved,” he said. In addition, the work assistance program also appears to be helping many recipients get back into the labor force.”

Republicans in the legislature are seeking to add work requirements or what is termed community engagement requirements on recipients of the Medicaid Expansion program.