Press Release- SD Democrats Advocate for Medicaid Expansion Following Governor’s Budget Address

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Immediate Release: Tuesday, December 8, 2015

South Dakota Democrat Leaders Advocate for Medicaid Expansion in South Dakota Following the Governor’s Budget Address

Pierre, SD (December 8, 2015)-

On Tuesday, Governor Dennis Daugaard corrected course and announced his support of a plan to expand Medicaid in South Dakota under the Affordable Care Act at his annual budget address.

South Dakota Democrats have been advocating for Medicaid Expansion since the option of increasing health care coverage was made available through the Affordable Care Act. South Dakota Democrat legislators have introduced legislation to expand Medicaid during each of the past three legislative sessions, all of which have been killed by the State’s Republican majority Legislature.

Executive Director of the South Dakota Democratic Party, Suzanne Jones Pranger, said

“South Dakota should have expanded Medicaid sooner, as Democrats proposed, because the federal government would have paid 100% of the cost of expansion of coverage until 2016. Instead, the state gave up a chance to recoup millions in federal tax dollars while providing coverage to as many as 55,000 South Dakotans with no cost to the state. South Dakota Democrats have been determined to make Medicaid expansion happen for South Dakota families, and that fight continues.”

Democratic Party leaders in the State Legislature are hopeful that this legislative session will provide a breakthrough in the fight to expand Medicaid. Democratic Party leaders say they are committed to working with those on the other side of the aisle to expand health care coverage in South Dakota.

“Democrats have continually advocated for Medicaid expansion for over three years now because we know that Medicaid expansion is an investment. Expanding this affordable healthcare option will provide thousands of South Dakotans a better opportunity to improve their health and live happy, productive lives,” said Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton. “The best type of investment our State can make is in its own citizens, and that is exactly what Medicaid expansion will accomplish. Democrats look forward to working with the Governor, Republican members of the Legislature, Tribes, and the federal government to develop a framework that best invests in South Dakota’s economic and healthcare future.”

Medicaid expansion may also provide an opportunity to expand IHS services and heath care access to Native American South Dakotans. House Minority Leader Spencer Hawley said,

“The Affordable Care Act and Democrats’ continual efforts to come to an agreement on Medicaid Expansion have brought all the parties to the table and have given us the opportunity to help ensure that the federal government adequately provides South Dakota’s Native peoples’ their treaty right to health care. We look forward to working with our colleagues to make Medicaid expansion a reality for the people of South Dakota.”    

Over 30 states have expanded Medicaid, which includes our neighbor states of North Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa. Medicaid expansion will save lives, stimulate the economy, and increase the State’s revenues.

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