Contentious Debate on Medicaid Expansion Leads House Session
The Medicaid Expansion bill passed through the Montana House of Representatives without amendments on Friday by a vote of 61-39, a move that did not sit well with the Speaker of the House, Greg Hertz (R) Kalispell.
“The sponsor stood up on the floor and said no amendments would be accepted,” said Hertz. “We’ve heard this before in the past. Basically, agreements have been put together by the Governor and the bill’s sponsor and it looks like they’re all in agreement, so it looks like they’ve got their votes to take this all the way to the finish line, which is unfortunate for the citizens of Montana that we can’t put some further amendments on this bill to improve it.”
Hertz was referring to more strict work requirements that many conservative Republicans had sought to attach to Medicaid Expansion.
“It’s difficult to say,” he said. “Originally, the way the bill was presented it did have a lot of good work requirements and other information. However, in committee a short 48 hours ago there were 84 changes to that bill and a lot of those were hard to understand and some of them did include work requirements. A lot of us weren’t sure just what we were voting on. There’s no new fiscal note yet with those 84 changes, so there’s just a lot of confusion on where this bill is headed.”
Hertz said once the bill passes the House it will go to the Senate, and if there are any amendments there, it will have to return to the House to concur with the Senate changes.
There was over an hour and a half floor debate on the bill on Friday morning.