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Democratic Lawmakers Celebrate Victory as Medicaid Expansion Clears Final Hurdle, Heads to Governor’s Desk

Monica Robinson of MT House Dems, Char-Koosta News

HELENA—Today, Montana Democrats celebrated as the last bill standing to reauthorize Medicaid expansion, HB 658, cleared its final legislative hurdle. Lawmakers in the House voted 61-35 to continue the program that provides life-saving health care for one in 10 Montanans and is headed to the governor’s desk.

Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill to reauthorize Medicaid expansion in the first week of the 2019 Montana Legislative Session. Although Medicaid expansion became the focus of political gamesmanship in the final weeks, a bipartisan group of lawmakers succeeded in getting HB 658 across the finish line. Its final vote out of the House today represents a significant victory for Montanans.

“Since Legislative Day One, Democratic lawmakers promised that we would not walk out of this building without passing Medicaid expansion,”said House Democratic Leader Rep. Casey Schreiner of Great Falls.“Today, we did exactly that. Medicaid expansion has created thousands of jobs, thrown a lifeline to our rural hospitals, and provides critical health care for one in 10 of our neighbors. There’s no longer any debate: Medicaid expansion works for Montana. We’re proud to see it head to the governor’s desk.”

“Today, 96,000 of our friends and neighbors can rest easy knowing that the ticking time bomb on their health care has been diffused,” said Rep. Mary Caferro of Helena. “I am proud of my colleagues in the Legislature for putting people above politics, and ensuring that we continue a program that has been successful for our health, our rural hospitals, for Indian County, and for our economy.”

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