Medicaid Expansion for SD
SD needs Medicaid Expansion:
A Matter of Health and Justice
Medicaid expansion is available to South Dakota now. It would come with a super generous 9-to-1 funding match.* Over 40,000 low-wage SD workers need it - now!
Since 2014, BFW-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 need healthcare. Their health is as important as anyone's.
--> Help to those who have lost jobs. Unemployment is up. 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 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 to do?:
(1) Sign petitions. Circulate petitions. We can put this on the 2022 ballot. Get petitions and info from Pam Cole, email@example.com, 605-695-1996.
ACTION: Thousands of signatures must be gathered by this November to put Medicaid expansion on the November 2022 ballot. Please sign the petition. Please consider being a circulator to help gather signatures.
(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 Legislative actions adding difficulto 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 funds! But it would also bring in almost $300 million healthcare dollars a year! Worse yet, the legislature assigned the decision about requiring 60% to the June primary, when few people vote. -Very sneaky.
60% is not needed. Here’s why: Legislators will point out that they require 2/3 to pass tax increases and spending measures, so they think we should have a super majority requirement too. But wait! The reason they have a higher threshold is that they vote on things very quickly. The sessions last only a few days. There are 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, a measure for the public ballot is out in public for over a year. People are out with petitions up to 2 years ahead. The initiative is on the state website in its full wording for all that time. Those objecting to the measure can and do publicize objections all that time.
A majority vote of the people has been the standard for 100 years. Medicaid expansion deserves to pass when a majority approves.
Be sure to VOTE in the June 2022 primary. Whether your party has candidates on it or not, the public can and should come out and vote No on this new Constitutional amendment. It is another way to squelch our citizen rights to initiative and referendum, which has been a long-revered South Dakota right for 100 years.
* UPDATE from Congress: The American Rescue Plan Act is signed into law and sweetens the deal for states that still need to expand Medicaid. It allows our state to pay only 5% of the costs for those enrolled by Medicaid expansion. After two years, we would still pay only 10%.(4)
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’s something states are recognizing, no matter which party leads the capitol.