(KLIX) – The Senate Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday knocked down legislation aimed to restrict Medicaid Expansion in Idaho.

The committee said it will "hold the bill," sponsored by Republican Rep. John Vander Woude, of Nampa, with a 7-2 vote.

Opponents of House Bill 277 said they are pleased with Wednesday's vote, saying the bill would create a “second gap” of Idahoans – people who would otherwise be Medicaid eligible but are kicked off of healthcare for failing to meet reporting requirements.

“The legislature has finally made a good decision for Idaho families who need access to quality healthcare,” Sen. Maryanne Jordan said in a statement.

In November, voters approved Medicaid Expansion in Idaho by more than 61 percent. Proposition II, as it was listed on the ballot, was a citizens’ initiative.

Woude’s bill, which the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy said would cost the state more than $30 million per year to administer, passed in the House 45-25 despite several hours of testimony by Idahoans against the proposed legislation.

Opponents are applauding the Senate committee's vote.

“Idahoans do not need all the expensive bureaucracy and red tape that this bill demands,” Jordan said. “They voted overwhelmingly for us to fund clean Medicaid Expansion with no barriers to coverage.”

Luke Mayville, co-founder of Reclaim Idaho, the grassroots organization responsible for Proposition II, said:

Today is a major victory for all Idahoans who value working families and healthy communities. House Bill 277 would only inflict unnecessary pain on thousands of working Idahoans, do damage to rural communities all across the state, and invite costly litigation that taxpayers would foot the bill for. Enough is enough. It’s time to pass a Medicaid Expansion program in Idaho free of harmful and costly restrictions.

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