Senate passes Medicaid expansion
Over 20,000 additional North Dakotans will have access to healthcare coverage
(BISMARCK, N.D.) – In response to the passage of HB 1362, also known as the Medicaid expansion bill, in a 33 to 14 vote, members of the Dem-NPL caucuses in the House and Senate released the following statements:
“Today, practicality won out over ideology to the benefit of North Dakotans,” said Senate Dem-NPL Leader Mac Schneider. “The passage of Medicaid expansion helps our businesses, health care providers, and, importantly, thousands of hardworking citizens who struggle to afford health care.”
“Medicaid expansion is a mainstream proposal that has the support of hospitals, doctors, business leaders, members of the clergy, Governor Dalrymple, and North Dakotans from all walks of life,” said Kenton Onstad, House Dem-NPL leader. “It is great to finally say that today we were able to improve health care in North Dakota.”
“After working on this issue for decades, it was great to finally see this bill, this idea, passed through the Senate and now set to be signed by the Governor,” said Senator Tim Mathern, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and long-time advocate for access to health care. “Change is difficult and it takes time, but good ideas do not go unrecognized as long as we remain vigilant and keep those people in mind who benefit the most from that change.”
“Now, over 20,000 people will have access to healthcare coverage in North Dakota and now those same people will have the opportunity to take advantage of 100% federal funding for the first three years and no less than 90% federal funding thereafter,” House Human Services committee member Representative Gail Mooney said. “This is a great step forward for healthcare providers and for North Dakotans in need.”
“We had a choice before us today: Vote to make our people healthier while at the same time cutting costs for hospitals and doctors at no cost to the state or make a hollow political gesture at the expense of the people of this state. We are ecstatic that reason won out today,” Senate Human Services committee member Senator Tyler Axness said. “Furthermore, if we were talking about federal funds for roads, there would be no question about what we would do. There should likewise be no question about whether we seize this opportunity to improve the health of our citizens.”
Background on Medicaid Expansion:
Sections 1,2,4 and 5 of HB 1362 expands access to Medicaid for those making less than 138% of the poverty level. Under the federal health care reform law, federal funds would initially cover 100% of the cost of expansion with the federal match dropping to 90% by 2017. Section 3 of the bill provides for a study.
Medicaid expansion was supported by a broad coalition, including the Greater North Dakota Chamber, North Dakota Farmers Union, AARP North Dakota, the North Dakota Catholic Conference, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, the North Dakota Hospital Association, the North Dakota Medical Association, and the House and Senate Democratic-NPL caucuses unanimously.