Today, February 15, Montana House and Senate Democrats came together in support of House Bill 458, a bill that, if passed, would expand Medicaid coverage in Montana.

One of the biggest questions surrounding the bill, is whether or not Montana can afford to pay for the expansion as Federal funding for the plan decreases in the future.

Representative (D) Pat Noonan of Butte is confident that the expansion will make Montana stronger. "I strongly believe that having better coverage, bringing that money back into the state and the increased economic opportunity in our state would offset any expense that would be put forth by expanding Medicaid."

The money that Noonan speaks of being brought "back into the state" is money that has already been collected through a variety of taxes put into place under the auspices of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

"If we decide that we want to opt out of this opportunity of expanding Medicaid, all that's going to happen is our taxpayer money and the moneys that our hospitals pay in uncompensated care will just go to support some other state's expansion," says Noonan. "So some other state will expand healthcare for their citizens on our hospital's backs and our taxpayer's backs."

Pat Noonan:

Noonan says that while he can't speak for every democrat in the house and senate, as far as he knows, all of his fellow party members in the legislature are in support of Medicaid expansion.