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Montana “Stabbed In The Eye” on Medicaid Expansion

HB658 is now scheduled for 3rd reading where it will have a final chance to clear the Senate.

Montana Voters Stabbed In The Eye With Medicaid Expansion

Montana Voters “Stabbed In The Eye”
on Medicaid Expansion

By Tim Ravndal

The voters turned down I-185 Medicaid Expansion less than 6 months ago. Yet, the politicians in Helena continue to ignore the people’s voice.

Last week in the 66th Montana Legislative Session, HB658 Medicaid Expansion was blasted out of the policy committee, even after the committee tabled the bill.

The blast put the bill before the finance committee.  Members there passed the bill out of committee to be heard by the full Senate.

Two motions to get the bill to the full Senate failed last week due to objections from the floor. This brought both sponsors and opponents of the legislation out in force to take a stand.

Montana Hospital Association , one of the main sponsors of the legislation, has invested an unknown amount of funding in promoting the bill.

Governor Bullock is also on the attack against the Republican side of the isle for what he calls “stalling tactics” to stop the bill from reaching his desk.

On Monday, the back room deals at the Montana Legislature once again opened the door to pass the Republican version of Medicaid Expansion.  Just this morning under Senate rules a motion was made to bring HB658 forward for a full vote.  Without objection, the bill was scheduled to be heard this afternoon for the 2nd Reading.

The 17 page fiscal note continues to change. It is now on the Fourth version and was questioned by multiple Senators before voting on the bill.

With both Republican and Democratic Senators squaring off, the legislation made it through the 2nd reading with 26 voting for the bill and 24 voting against.

During debate on the bill, a couple of the Montana Senators referenced being “stabbed in the eye” if the legislation is to pass.  Montana Residency requirements to be qualified for the program were also under scrutiny if passed.

One of the amendments that was offered on the bill would reinstate the sunset on the law.  Time frame on that sunset would be 6 years unless there is a legal challenge prior to that date.

HB658 is now scheduled for 3rd reading where it will have a final chance to clear the Senate.

If the legislation passes 3rd reading, it will go back to the full house to concur with the amendments that the Senate has included in the legislation.

Here is a list of the Montana Senators and how they voted on HB658 Medicaid Expansion that many citizens we talked to claim is a direct slap in the face of the people of Montana.

N  Ankney, Duane (R) Y  Fitzpatrick, Steve    (R) Y  Malek, Sue    (D) Y  Sesso, Jon    (D)
Y  Barrett, Dick  (D) Y  Flowers, Pat     (D) Y  McClafferty, Edith  (?) Y  Small, Jason   (R)
Y  Bennett, Bryce  (D) Y  Gauthier, Terry   (R) Y  McConnell, Nate   (D) N  Smith, Cary   (R)
N  Blasdel, Mark  (R) Y  Gillespie, Bruce    (R) Y  McNally, Mary     (D) Y  Smith, Frank    (D)
N  Bogner, Kenneth  (R) Y  Gross, Jen     (D) N  Olszewski, Albert  (R) Y  Tempel, Russel    (R)
Y  Boland, Carlie    (D) N  Hinebauch, Steve   (R) N  Osmundson, Ryan  (R) N  Thomas, Fred   (R)
N  Brown, Dee    (R) N  Hoven, Brian      (R) Y  Phillips, Mike      (D) N  Vance, Gordon   (R)
Y  Cohenour, Jill   (D) N  Howard, David    (R) Y  Pomnichowski, JP  (D) Y  Vuckovich, Gene  (D)
N  Cuffe, Mike    (R) Y  Jacobson, Tom    (D) N  Regier, Keith    (R) N  Webb, Roger    (R)
Y  Ellis, Janet     (D) N  Kary, Douglas (Doug)    (R) N  Richmond, Tom    (R) Y  Webber, Susan   (D)
N  Ellsworth, Jason  (R) N  Keenan, Bob     (R) N  Sales, Scott   (R) N  Welborn, Jeffrey  (R)
N  Esp, John     (R) N  Lang, Mike      (R) Y  Salomon, Daniel  (R)
N  Fielder, Jennifer   (R) Y  MacDonald, Margaret (Margie) Y  Sands, Diane    (D)

With the Montana Republicans holding a majority in both houses, the frustration with party politics is clearly showing in the debate.

Senator Bruce Gillespie (R)
Senator Russ Tempel (R


Republican Senator Bruce Gillespie and Republican Senator Russ Tempel changed their Votes on 2nd Reading to “Do Pass”.





Email addresses to Contact members of the Montana Senate,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


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