On Friday, The Montana House Health and Human Services Committee voted “Not to Pass” House Bill 249, Governor Steve Bullock’s plan to expand Medicaid. Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen held a press conference to explain the reasons behind Republican opposition to the plan.

"The Governor's plan, bottom line, is really expensive now, and it is even more expensive a few years down the road," Knudsen said. "We think it is really short sighted. If HB 249 was implemented, over a five year period, starting just three years from now, the Montana taxpayers would be forced to pay an additional 250 million dollars over that five year period."

Knudsen says Republicans are working on plans to help those in need, but that the Governor’s plan was not good for Montana.

"There are certainly populations that we want to cover and we are trying to do that with some of our bills, but when you are talking about this proposal putting one out of every five Montanans on the medicaid roles, the bottom line is that that is just a lot of big government," Knudsen said. "That's a lot of government spending, a lot of federal reliance... it's not good for Montana families."

Governor Bullock declared that he was not done working on the proposal and Democrats are expected to try to blast Medicaid expansion to the Senate Floor for debate.

Interview with Austin Knudsen: