Measure to expand Medicaid in South Dakota passed

In Tuesday’s election, South Dakotas voted to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income adults.

According to the state election results, the state constitutional amendment passed with the support of 56% of the voters. data. Mount Rushmore will join 38 states and the District of Columbia in expanding the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. South Dakota is also the seventh Republican-led state to introduce an expansion of Medicaid through a vote.

Beginning July 1, 42,500 South Dakota adults with incomes below 133% of the federal poverty level — or about $18,000 a year per person — will be eligible for Medicaid coverage, according to the state legislature’s non-partisan budget analysis. office. The federal government will cover 90% of the cost of the expansion and provide a two-year bonus of 5% on its share of the state’s entire Medicaid budget. Legislative analysis predicts that the expansion will save South Dakota $162.5 million over five years due to additional federal dollars and lower spending on state health programs.

“South Dakotans know their families and neighbors deserve healthcare without going into debt or avoiding the checkups, procedures and medications they need,” Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project, a progressive organization, said in a press release. supporting electoral initiatives. . “Citizens have taken matters into their own hands to push through the expansion of Medicaid through voting, demonstrating once again to us that if politicians don’t do their job, their constituents will do it for them.”

Gov. Christy Noem (right) opposes the expansion of Medicaid but has vowed to implement the policy. On Tuesday, Noem handily won re-election by defeating Democrat Jamie Smith, the minority leader in the South Dakota House of Representatives.

The South Dakota Association of Health Organizations, the South Dakota State Medical Association, and South Dakota Health Systems Avera Health, Sanford Health, and Monument Health supported the measure, which they claim will reduce non-reimbursed care and benefit rural providers.

“Avera thanks voters for seeing the importance of expanding Medicaid to ensure that more than 42,000 South Dakotas, including farmers, parents and small business workers, have expanded access to health care. This is especially important for our rural population, which is likely to be uninsured. “, the health system said in a statement.

The expansion also attracted support from community health centers and physicians, who argued that broader Medicaid coverage would help clinics expand services. “Expanding coverage will help us find resources for our work, allowing us to support care in some of the state’s most rural and border communities and expand essential services such as mental health and dental care,” Shelley Ten Napel, CEO of the Dakota Public Health Association, says in the statement.

Other organizations that approved this measure includes the South Dakota Nurses Association, the South Dakota Farmers Union, the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and AARP in South Dakota.

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