Montana’s Republican-controlled House voted Thursday, 54-46, to approve federal subsidies for Medicaid expansion. Although Democrats are outnumbered 59-41 in the Montana House, a unified Democratic caucus joined forces with 13 Republicans who defected from their party’s leadership, to push Senate Bill 405 through the House chamber. The bill would expand Medicaid coverage to between 27,000 and 46,000 low-income Montanans who earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
All 41 House Democrats approved the Medicaid expansion. Republicans opposed it 46-13, but the 13 defectors were enough to tip the balance to pass the measure. House Republican leaders tried to kill the bill, but they were unable to keep their party unified in opposition. One defector, Rep. Geraldine Custer (R-Forsyth) argued in defense of the bill, noting that its main beneficiaries would be the working poor. Custer stated: (Source: Read more)