Medicaid Expansion for SD
SD needs Medicaid Expansion!
New since the 2021 Legislative session: There's even more incentive now!
In the American Rescue Plan Act (March 2021), there are new incentives for the few remaining states that have not accepted Medicaid expansion. The benefit varies for each state. For South Dakota, it is enough to cover our state's cost of expansion for over 4 years!
What to do: Ask the governor and state legislators to accept the funds and adopt Medicaid expansion now, in a special session or at the next legislative session. (You might ask them for a response, so that if they don't agree to work for expansion, you can ask them why not.) But keep signing petitions too.
Since 2014, Bread for the World-SD has advocated for Medicaid expansion. But now, due to inaction by the governor and state legislature, we must take citizen action to put it on the 2022 ballot for the voters.
The Lord knows we need this benefit for our state!:
--> Racial justice. The Covid pandemic has laid bare the disparities in health, disease, and healthcare coverage.
--> Justice for low-wage workers. Many are unable to work from home, often working on the front lines of the pandemic (cleaning, homecare, childcare, . . .). All our state's low-wage workers should have access to healthcare. Their health is as important as anyone's.
--> Help to those who have lost jobs. Losing a job can mean losing health coverage.
--> A Responsible Response to a pandemic. We’ll never know how many uninsured people missed or delayed a Covid test or medical care, because of the expense, and then passed the virus on to others.
--> Healthcare justice. “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
--> Government efficiency. Other states and former SD Governor Daugaard have figured out how to do Medicaid Expansion without adverse effect on state budgets.(1, 2)
It would: Bring a big investment in South Dakota; Support hospitals, especially rural ones; Help families prevent bankruptcies; Create jobs; and Provide addiction treatment and mental health treatment.(3)
Since 2014, South Dakota has refused a total of over $2 Billion much needed healthcare dollars and the healthcare it would have brought, including support to health facilities, especially rural ones. We’ve missed out on the funds AND on the healthcare AND on the justice.
South Dakota could do this! So far, 38 states and DC have accepted this generous offer from the feds. It’s available here now to bring health coverage to over 40,000 low-income South Dakotans. They are ages 19-64, and many of them are in a "coverage gap" with no affordable option for health coverage.
“For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore
I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand
to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’”
What individuals can do:
(1) Sign petitions. Circulate petitions. We can put this on the 2022 ballot. Thousands of signatures must be gathered by this November to put Medicaid expansion on the November 2022 ballot.
There are two petitions for a ballot measure that would expand Medicaid. Urge voters to sign both in hopes that at least one gets enough signatures to get on the ballot. Then vote for both, in hopes that at least one passes.
(2) A pandemic is a perfect time to speak up for Medicaid expansion. South Dakota workers need it as much as workers in other states do.
--> Keep asking Governor Noem and State Legislators to expand Medicaid now, during this pandemic. There are new federal incentives*, and maybe, with enough public pressure, they would figure a way.
--> Remind your neighbors, local paper, organizations and church members that South Dakota needs this and could and should do it.
(3) ALERT: Among the state legislative actions adding difficulty to citizen initiatives is one asking voters to approve a requirement of 60% to pass initiatives that raise a tax or create over $10 million in spending.
Of course, Medicaid expansion would spend the healthcare funds! But it would also bring in almost $300 million healthcare dollars a year! - a super giant return on investment! To make Medicaid expansion more difficult, the legislature assigned the decision about its 60% requirement to the June primary, when few people vote. -Very sneaky.
Note that 60% is not needed. Here’s why: Legislators will point out that they require 2/3 in the legislature to pass tax increases and spending measures, so they think we citizens should have a super majority requirement too. But wait! The reason they have a higher threshold is that the legislature votes on things very quickly. Their sessions last only a few days. They have many ways a bill can be introduced and passed super fast. Thus, they don’t have long to study and deliberate and hear all the objections. HOWEVER, initiatives for the public ballot are out in public for over a year. Petitions are circulating up to 2 years ahead. The state website has full wording for all that time. People who object to the measure can and do publicize their objections all that time.
A majority vote of the people has been the standard in SD for over 100 years. Medicaid expansion deserves to pass when a majority approves.
Be sure to VOTE in the June 2022 primary. Even if your party has no candidates on it, you can and should come out and vote No on this new Constitutional amendment. We can stop this new limitation on our citizen rights to initiative and referendum. Majority vote by the citizenry has been a long-revered South Dakota right for over 100 years.
Working for Medicaid Expansion is life-saving justice work.
Please help us get this very important benefit for
the betterment of our state and its people.
- - - - -footnotes - - - - -
1 "Paying for Medicaid - State Budgets and the Case for Expansion in the Time of Coronavirus", New England Journal of Medicine, March 31, 2020. https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMp2007124
2 South Dakota Health Care Solutions Coalition Final Report, 2016 for Governor Daugaard, https://boardsandcommissions.sd.gov/bcuploads/PublicDocs/SD%20HCSC%20Final%20Report%20Dec%202016.pdf
3 Mark Hall, Health Law and Policy Program at Wake Forest University and the Brookings Institute, “Do states regret expanding Medicaid?” Brookings Institute. March 26, 2018, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/usc-brookings-schaeffer-on-health-policy/2018/03/26/do-states-regret-expanding-medicaid/“We’re seeing in each state, the expansion has created jobs, helped keep hospitals afloat, supported the tax base. The economic benefits also enabled people to get jobs”. He says that is something states are recognizing, no matter which party leads the capitol.
Below are some pages that might be helpful:
1. Medicaid expansion basics
2. 1-page size info for churches
3. two half-page size info for churches
4. Faith Action ideas
5. Sample church bulletin announcements
6. Sample church bulletin announcements, ELCA
How to download them: The little pop-out symbol in the corner will bring upa pdf version that you can download.