The North Dakota Senate today brought to the floor HB1362, which contains the expansion of the state Medicaid program originally mandated by Obamacare. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that the states get a choice. With a lot of Republicans saying they dislike the bill but will vote for it, the bill passed on a 33-14 vote.
The expansion was actually a part of Governor Jack Dalrymple’s Human Services budget, so there’s little doubt he’ll be signing it into law.
“Employers most provide insurance or pay penalties up to $3,000 per employee,” Senator Judy Lee, the bill’s carrier on the floor, said. “Not expanding Medicaid means lower paid employees become the responsibility of their employers. I don’t want to tell North Dakota employers they will have to pay large penalties.”
But there was plenty of passionate opposition to the legislation in the chamber.
“I’d love to use this bill to send a message to Washington, but Washington doesn’t care.” said Senator Dick Dever. “I’m going to vote for this, but I don’t like it.”
Senator Howard Anderson said that he doesn’t like the bill, and wasn’t voting for it. “The feds will not change anything or back off until we stop saying ‘send us the money and rub our tummy,” he said.
Perhaps the most passionate opposition came from Senator Margaret Sitte. “Each legislator who votes yes will be committing to billions of dollars in new state and federal tax increases,” she said in a fiery speech. “Each person who votes yes is complicit in the nation’s spending problems.”
There was even some outright lies on the floor of the Senate. “This has been scored as actually reducing debt,” said Senator Tim Mathern referring to widely-debunked calculations about the supposed cost savings of Obamacare. He also attacked the notion that the expansion of Obamacare is not “socialism.” He noted that the bill does not require the state to employer doctors or build hospitals.
He’s right. Obamacare doesn’t do that. What Obamacare does do is control private hospitals and doctors, which is more accurately described as fascism.
Here’s video of the floor debate: