The Montana Senate voted 29-21 in its second reading of SB 405, the Medicaid Expansion bill, meaning after the third reading scheduled for Saturday will mean the compromise bill will become law. 

State Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen reacted from her office in Helena after adoption of House amendments to the bill, which would make Medicaid coverage more accessible to thousands of low-income Montanans.

"I'm truly excited," Lindeen said. "I've traveled all over the state for the last two years, and I've talked to a lot of those 70,000 people who are really going to benefit from expansion of Medicaid. These are hard-working folks who have lots of health issues and it's going to be very important for them."

Lindeen acknowledged the fact that the bill is a Republican alternative to the original Medicaid expansion promoted by Governor Bullock.

"Honestly, I think this compromise bill is a great piece of legislation," she said. "Certainly, there are a few things that not everybody is happy about, but in terms of actually giving access to the folks who need it, it does all the right things, so I'm very pleased."

The bill does expand Medicaid to over 45,000 Montanans, but also requires them to participate by paying premiums and making co-payments for medical services.