The Bozeman, Montana Chronicle is running a poll right now asking Montanans whether they support proposed Montana Initiative I-170 to provide Medicaid for the 70,000 Montanans who currently fall into the doughnut hole created by the Montana Legislature's refusal to allow Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.
This is the same Montana where a January Gallup poll placed President Obama's job approval rating at about 33% and the Affordable Care Act's popularity at only 30% with Montana's Seniors. So that means that Montanans will fight to the death to prevent Medicaid expansion, right?
Um, no. Over 74% of Montanans who responded to the Chronicle poll supported expanding Medicaid to the 70,000 Montanans who would be helped by Medicaid expansion. When last I checked 716 Montanans favored expanding Medicaid and only 245 opposed its expansion. So tell me again why Democrats are running away from the provisions of the Affordable Care Act? The problem seems to be the misinformed propaganda hasn't yet been effectively neutralized, not that people don't support many of the popular provisions of the law.
And, when you get to the estimated benefits to Montana for expanding Medicaid versus its cost, the results are astonishing:
"Using a nationally recognized and well-documented model, Impact Analysis for Planning (IMPLAN), the BBER estimated the employment, labor income, and state and federal tax revenues attributable to the inflow of federal dollars supporting the Medicaid expansion.The benefits versus costs to Montana are startling. For what the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research estimates will be a maximum cost of $52 million dollars in Montana State funding, insuring the 70,000 Montanans who would be covered under Medicaid expansion is projected to produce between 11,500 and 12,700 new, good-paying jobs by 2021, as well as creating about $4 Billion dollars in new job revenue and $400 million dollars in new tax revenue for the State of Montana.
On average, new federal funds create and support 11,500 jobs annually under the lower-cost scenario, and 12,700 jobs annually under the higher-cost scenario. Approximately 60 percent of these jobs are in the health care industry. The average economy-wide job created pays an average wage of $42,000, well above the average wage for private sector jobs in Montana economy-wide, which is $35,000. Over FY 2014 through FY 2021 an estimated $3.8 billion (low-cost scenario) and $4.2 billion (high-cost scenario) in labor income is generated from the flow of federal funds into the Montana economy. This represents an average contribution of $477 million per year in labor income for the low-cost scenario and $529 million per year under the higher-cost scenario."
Again, $52 million dollars (max) of Montana investment will produce $4 Billion dollars of new labor income for the state, while allowing 70,000 hard-working Montanans to receive, in some cases, life-saving health care--while, at the same time, saving Montana's hospitals over $100 million dollars in avoided unpaid health service costs.
And Montana Republicans, and Republicans in 22 other states, somehow, as a result of the hundreds of millions of dollars of Koch-sponsored misinformation, think it was a great idea to prevent Medicaid expansion...because Victory 2014 and taxes and personal responsibility.
Besides Republicans have a great plan for helping lower-income, working Americans who have major medical expenses--bankruptcy courts and change cans at 7-11s..and what could possibly be kinder, gentler or more All-American than that?
This poll's lesson is direct: How important it is to, right now, well before the 2014 elections, start blowing up the false memes pushed by Americans for Prosperity, because, when given the choice, Montanans, (and citizens in other Red States), loudly and clearly support Medicaid expansion and other benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Obviously, talking about the Affordable Care Act itself won't help, but engaging in clear discussions of ACA's benefits quickly shreds the despicable fabric of lies and distortions that make Americans think they don't like Obamacare--when the vast majority of reactions to the Chronicle's poll clearly indicate how strongly Medicaid expansion is supported by Montanans, and, by extension, Americans in general. And, as a number of other analyses have shown, this will help, not hurt, Democratic politicians in the Fall.