On Elections and the Medicaid Expansion

by Cowgirl

The bill to accept money from the federal government and thereby extend private health insurance to 70,000 working poor Montanans has been sent to state the Health Human Services Committee, where the GOP hardliners hope they can kill it.

If they should do so, however, we can expect to see the Medicaid expansion proposal (in true form, not the current GOP version, a compromise, which uses public funds as vouchers with which insurance may be bought from private insurance companies) on the ballot in 2014.  As a ballot initiative, it is likely to pass with broad support.

A similar measure in fact was voted up in 2008,  the Medicaid Children’s Health Insurance Program or “CHIP” expansion. It was approved by  70% of Montana voters.   It was known as Initiative 155 (alternately Healthy Montana Kids) and gave federally funded insurance to an additional 30,000 kids.

This landslide mandate has a serious political implication: every single county and every single legislative district in Montana voted for the expansion, each by a strong margin. In fact numerous GOP legislators who will be voting on the current bill this week were elected with fewer votes in their district than were cast for the approval of the CHIP expansion, heavily conservative though their districts may be.

In fact lets take a closer look at how many votes the last Medicaid/CHIP expansion garnered, compared to how many votes the GOP members of the House Health and Human Services Committee received.  (If you’d like to look up these stats for other legislators, click here to get the 2008 data from the Montana secretary of state.)


 2008 Election Results
GOP Legislator Medicaid/CHIP Expansion
David Howard (R) HD 60 2635 3235
Cary Smith (R) HD 55 3118 3675
District of Kelly Flynn  (R) HD 77 when Scott Sales ran 2644 2851
District of Bill Harris ( R ) HD 30 when Dave Kasten ran 2595 2551
Pat Ingraham (R) HD 13 3147 3273
District of Alan Redfield (R) HD 61 when Joel Boniek ran 3420 3410
Scott Reichner (R) HD 9 3666 3620
Gordon Vance (R) HD 67 3960 4542
District of Kirk Wagoner (R) HD 77 when Scott Mendenhall ran 3403 3560


So a 2014 initiative could have electoral implications for those Republicans who vote down the current proposal.  For if you vote against 6 billion dollars for your state, you are hardly representing your voters’ wishes.  If you doubt me, just take a look at what happened to former legislator Bob Wagner of Madison County, when he voted against stimulus funds, on Tea Party principles, and was then trounced in the following election by a main street Republican for having done so.  The money was needed by his district for local infrastructure projects.

Such may be the fate of those that vote against the Medicaid cash as we enter the final days of the 2013 legislature, as the issue will be prominent in 2014 and arise in editorial board meetings, candidate forums, and public discussion.   A ballot initiative for Medicaid in 2014 (in the event this legislature fails to pass it) will hopefully serve two purposes: to resolve the issue, and to inform voters in certain GOP districts that their legislators are busy playing out their Tea Party fantasies, and not representing their districts.


29 Comments on "On Elections and the Medicaid Expansion"

  1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers. | April 21, 2013 2:05 PM at 2:05 PM |

    Not to worry. The ReePubes and Teabirchers have an alternate plan. And it just might work!

    “I don’t feel the same way about the Democrats as bullet backstops as I do about the Republicans who joined them,” Nogy wrote. “We need to let those who will come in the future to represent us [know] that we are serious. The 2nd amendment means nothing unless those in power believe you would have no problem simply walking up and shooting them if they got too far out of line and stopped responding as representatives.”

  2. This is the same absurdity we saw in Washington when the very watered down bill to require background checks, which are what 90% of the electorate want, was defeated. Don’t get me going on Baucus the Weasel. Here we have an initiative which is supported by the majority of Montanans, everyone in the health care industry, all Democrats, and a pathetic group of anti-government loons vote not to accept the federally funded expansion of Medicaid which will provide health care for 70K people and add approximately 12K jobs. All because they think the government is evil. What really gets me is that they accept their remuneration from the State for serving in the Legislature and on top of that get almost $9000 worth of health care coverage which we pay for. The hypocrisy is astonishing.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers. | April 21, 2013 5:40 PM at 5:40 PM |

      Draftmama, let’s be clear on one point. Background checks, good. Gun registration, bad! Problem is that with our liberal pals, it’s total, all out war on gun ownership. And it won’t stop until libs figure it out. With the passage of draconian gun laws, we create a whole new class of criminals called law abiding citizens. We have enough real criminals with making more out of people that don’t deserve it. But the rest of your post is spot on.

  3. To “The Montana Cowgirl” Thank-You for keeping {{{HOPE}}} alive, and keeping up, on ever detail, of this important piece of legislation. It will be good for Montana, you are right about that.You know this is personal for me, but I am not so selfish, to know, once made aware of the 70,000 suffering, will not get the help they need. Whether I decide to stay here, or not. Thank-You. ;-)


  4. You are whistling through the graveyard on this one – too funny.

    Without Medicaid expansion, Obamacare doesn’t work. Period.

    Obamacare was passed behind closed doors, without a SINGLE Republican vote – the Democrats own it.

    Next year on january 1st, when Obamacre starts imploding, and hurting people & businesses, you aren’t going to be able to convince the voters that it was a Republican plan.

    2010 will be remembered as a good year for Dems compared to 2014 –

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers. | April 22, 2013 7:45 AM at 7:45 AM |

      Eric, care to elaborate on PUBBIEcare?! Just what is it? The ol’ sick and quick method? Get sick and die quick?! Why SHORE it is!

      Third world, WE’VE ARRIVED! Yes, Eric, we’ve arrived at third world status faster than anyone could have imagined. And you’re here to trumpet that that’s a good thing! And I guess it is if your name is Kockh!

      But you see, Eric, most people don’t live in Kockh World, which is kinda like Disney World for rich assholes. Take off your 3 D glasses, Eric. Dumbass, Delusional, Dildo! See the suffering of the people around you. And EXPLAIN your sympathies for the Big Kockh regime! WHAT do you have in common with a Big Kockh that creates so much sympathy in you? I don’t get it.

      • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers. | April 22, 2013 8:04 AM at 8:04 AM |

        p.s. Eric, there are a few heroes from this session, and one of them is Llew Jones. Llew is the type of Republican that we USED to send to Helena, a good, decent man willing to do what’s best for his folks back home. But that’s all gone now. Those were the days beFORE the Big Kockh was inserted beTWEEN the Pubbie legislators and their constituents! Now, what the Pubbies are left with are a bunch-o little kockh lickspittles like the Assman and Fart Fetish, who refuse to listen to the Biblical admonition, “first, remove the Kockh from your OWN eye”! And that’s all these losers see is the Big Kockh! They are totally blinded to all else, esPECIALLY the suffering of their fellow Montanans!

    • Comments like Eric’s are what gives me hope-with-visible-means-of-support as opposed to the hope-with-no-visible-means-of-support as expressed by Eric and the indescribably-self-absorbed legislators who voted down the biggest jobs and financial security bill in two decades. You WANT 70,000 Montanans to suffer physically and financially for misguided political reasons??!! That’s a winning strategy for you and yours??!! I’ll simply ask the rhetorical question: “What in the F— is really your problem?” And leave it at that as far as my concerns for your “position”.

      As far as everyone in the real world: What are we waiting for? Healthy Montana Kids was a compromise that works for thousand of our kids and their families. Medicaid Expansion is a similar compromise that will work for 70,000 families and their kids, and for our economy. Of course Medicaire-for-All (Single Payer if you will) is the real solution and of course we will eventually get there with or without these diplidons and their enablers. But in the meantime, let’s get started right now gathering signatures. It needs to be an all-state, all-districts effort, tying the success of Medicaid Expansion with the defeat of those who would tell our kids to go sell pencils if they can’t afford Fred Thomas-approved health insurance. They should feel the pain of shaming right now, and continue feeling it right thru this year and next. Yes, we did pass Healthy MT Kids, but it took a HUGE effort, with funding. And even after we got the results Montana Cowgirl rightfully crows about (over 60% even in our Ravalli Co. wing nut districts) they tried to sue us, intimidate us with depositions etc. and then tried to overturn it in the 2009 legislature. And rememberer, that legislature was populated by “moderate” Republicans like MaClaren and Shockley, who indeed did try to kill HMK. And failed. We, the progressives of Montana, gave something of substance to everyone in Montana, even to those who hold the truly weird philosophy that healthcare is only for those who can afford it. And we’ll do it again. This time, tho, we have a good avenue toward making some accountability stick to these Aynrandian idiots with issues that aren’t compatible with making rational and compassionate decisions. The sad thing is 70,000 people are gonna have to wait, and a certain few of them will fall into bankruptcy and/or die cuz of the venal and truly crazy
      hypocrisy of the few idiots who should never have been given the power they now so clearly enjoy abusing.

      • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers. | April 22, 2013 11:03 AM at 11:03 AM |

        Bill, Fred Thomass is one of the BIGGEST dildos down there in the Lege. Unbelievable that he was voted back in after his dereg disaster.

        But I must relate a story. Fred held a meeting one time here in GF on dereg. During the meeting he actually suggested that we, the consumers, could actually SAVE money with dereg if we would simply just band together as neighborhoods and go looking for cheap electric energy on the free market! I shit you not. THIS is exactly what he suggested! Wow! Now THAT was a great, workable idea, no?!

        Well, I suggested what dumbass fred thomass could DO with that suggestion, just before I called his dumbass out publicly for being such an ignernt asshole!

        The man is an idiot and should be allowed no where NEAR public policy! His ideas for health care are similar to his ideas for dereg, pure BULLSHIT!

    • “When asked whether they think their
      state should implement the Medicaid
      expansion, with the federal
      government picking up most of the
      cost, the survey finds that more
      Americans are in favor of expanding
      Medicaid in their state (52 percent)
      than oppose it (41 percent), shares that
      have remained similar since last July. A
      familiar partisan divide is evident, with
      two‐thirds of Republicans wanting to
      keep their state’s Medicaid program as
      it is today, three‐quarters of Democrats
      wanting to expand it, and
      independents nearly evenly divided”


  5. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers. | April 22, 2013 8:06 AM at 8:06 AM |
  6. Just got this action alert on it:
    Our Last Chance for Expanded Health Coverage

    Today we start the last week of the 63rd Montana Legislature. We have come incredibly far in our efforts to expand Medicaid and provide health care to 70,000 Montanans, and we couldn’t have done it without you. Please join us in taking action once again in these final days.

    HB 623, a significant bipartisan compromise that would allow low-income Montanans to access private health insurance, faced a major setback last week when it was sent to committee instead of to the House floor for a full vote. You can click here to read our statement on the compromise legislation, and our reasons for supporting it.

    If HB 623 is to move forward, we need Speaker of the House, Mark Blasdel (R- Somers), to allow the House to have a full debate and vote. In addition, we need those representatives who have taken a stand in support of health care for 70,000 Montanans to continue to make the right choice and support this bill.

    Please contact:
    Speaker Blasdel
    Rep. Bangerter
    Rep. Clark
    Rep. Hagan
    Rep. Washburn

    Ask them to support HB 623! You can call the Capitol switchboard at 444-4800 to leave a message for all them at once. Or you can click here and use an online web form to leave messages.


    This is our last chance, and we believe that it is worth one more push to see if we can get this compromise passed for uninsured Montanans! Thanks for everything you’ve done to move this issue forward over the last 3 months.

  7. Liz Bangerter HB 80: 2141
    I-155 Medicaid and Chip Expansion in HB 80: 3757

    Source: Montana Secretary of State

  8. Roger Hagan HD 19 in Cascade County: 2,609
    I-155 Medicaid and Chip Expansion in HB 19: 2920

    Source: Montana Secretary of State

  9. Christy Clark HD 19: 2,362
    I-155 Medicaid and CHIP expansion: 2816

    Source: Montana Secretary of State

  10. Grandma Jeannie | April 23, 2013 7:28 AM at 7:28 AM |

    This reminds me of a large number of our legislators

  11. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers. | April 23, 2013 7:46 AM at 7:46 AM |

    Are there REALLY no religious groups in this state other than the christofascist, southern, inbred, crhistocable guy, bible thumpers?? WHY isn’t there a HUGE delegation of so-called mainstream Christians down there in Helena demanding that the legislators do the right, and Christian thing, by providing health care to the most needy?!

    For my money, the so-called mainstreamers are nuthin’ more than hypocrites wallowing in their assHOLINESS! WWJD do? Easy answer. HE’d be down there KICKIN’ some inbred rightwing ass! Guess that JAYsus is more interested in the Big Kochs and all the little kockhs runnin’ round in the Teabircher Party!!!!

    • Grandma Jeannie | April 23, 2013 7:56 AM at 7:56 AM |

      Agreed – in Texas the Catholics are campaigning hard for this! Texas! Our Catholics here must be too wrapped up in their sex abuse lawsuit.

  12. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers. | April 23, 2013 9:27 AM at 9:27 AM |

    “It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly.”
    St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II, II, q. 33, a.

    Seems to me that it may be time to SHAME and rebuke some of these so-called Christians!

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