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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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GOP Medicaid expansion blockade means missed opportunities for SD

Sioux Falls (July 2, 2014) — South Dakota is missing out on huge opportunities as a result of the Governor Dennis Daugaard’s medicaid expansion blockade, according to a new report published by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors.
medicaid_social_july2014_2

South Dakota Democratic party Executive Director Zach Crago says that the report underscores the importance of Medicaid Expansion in South Dakota.

“The numbers don’t lie – Medicaid expansion makes dollars and sense for South Dakota,” says Crago. “Medicaid Expansion injects hundreds of millions of dollars into our economy to insure 26,000 people who fall in the Daugaard coverage gap. That investment creates jobs and offers a lifeline to hardworking South Dakotans without health insurance. South Dakota cannot wait any longer for Governor Dennis Daugaard and GOP state legislators to expand Medicaid.”

The missed opportunities South Dakota faces because Governor Dennis Daugaard and GOP state legislators refuse to expand Medicaid include:

Missed Opportunities: PREVENTATIVE CARE:

  • 26,000 South Dakotans will be left uninsured because they work too much to qualify for regular Medicaid but earn too little to qualify for subsidies on the healthcare exchange.
  • 3,800 South Dakotans will be get cholesterol level screenings.
  • 1,500 South Dakotans will not receive needed pap smears.
  • 900 South Dakotans will not get potentially life saving mammograms

Missed Opportunities: ACCESS TO CARE & HEALTH OUTCOMES

  • 6,000 South Dakotans will not have access to a usual source of clinical care.
  • 3,000 South Dakotans will not get all their needed care in a 12 month period.
  • 70,800 needed physicians visits will not occur.
  • 2,000 South Dakotans who suffer from depression will not see relief.
  • 3,000 South Dakotans will not report good health.

Missed Opportunities: FINANCIAL HARDSHIP

  • 10,500 South Dakotans will suffer catastrophic out of pocket healthcare costs.
  • 3,700 South Dakotans will have to borrow money or skip paying payments to pay a medical bill.

Missed Opportunities: FEDERAL SPENDING

  • $420 million in federal investments to South Dakota between 2014 and 2016 will be forgone.
  • 1900 jobs will not be created.

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE.

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ICYMI: Medicaid expansion is saving lives in North Dakota

Zach Crago, Executive Director SDDP: “Common sense prevailed in North Dakota when Republicans and Democrats came together to provide thousands of people with health insurance – but South Dakotans are still waiting for life saving coverage. Zach-Crago-SDDP

“In North Dakota, Medicaid expansion is providing care, identifying treatable illnesses, and saving lives that might have been lost without this coverage. North Dakota didn’t play politics, and they didn’t make excuses. It’s long past time for Governor Dennis Daugaard and our legislature to put South Dakotans first and expand Medicaid today.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Associated Press
North Dakota Medicaid expansion leads some residents to seek long-delayed health care

By James MacPherson
May 14, 2014

BISMARCK, North Dakota — The company providing coverage for North Dakota’s Medicaid expansion told state lawmakers Wednesday that many residents who haven’t seen a doctor in years are doing so now.

Lisa Carlson, director of Planning and Regulation for Sanford Health, told the Health Care Reform Review Committee that some residents hadn’t been seeking treatment for cancer and other diseases because of the lack of money.

More than 7,880 people have been enrolled in the expanded state’s Medicaid program since January. Officials estimate more than 12,000 people — mostly adults without children — are still eligible under the Medicaid expansion, a component of the federal Affordable Care Act championed by President Barack Obama. Under the new law, residents whose income is up to 138 percent of the poverty level qualify for Medicaid, the health program for the poor.

“There is a consistent theme with the population of delaying testing, not filling medications or making follow up appointments due to no coverage,” Carlson said. She told lawmakers of several incidents where previously uninsured North Dakotans are getting medications for diabetes or are now being treated for testicular, rectal, lung and esophageal cancers that might not have been detected without the broadened coverage.

“Nurses are finding great fulfillment with many ‘bless yous’ and notes of thanks from individuals who were not getting care due to their lack of financial resources,” Carlson told the panel.

North Dakota’s Republican-led Legislature reluctantly voted last year to expand Medicaid to cover more uninsured residents of the state. GOP lawmakers in both chambers testified that they don’t like the new federal law championed by Obama, but believed the state’s residents would have to shoulder more costs without it.
Carlson said in an interview that “absolutely” lives are being saved due to the expansion of Medicaid.

Mike Schwab, executive vice president of the North Dakota Pharmacists Association, said his group supported legislation last year to expand Medicaid to cover more uninsured residents of the state. But Schwab told lawmakers the association is regretting it now. He said more than 30 pharmacies in the state have expressed frustrations with the new law, including reimbursements that don’t “cover the cost of doing business.”

“If we had known it would be administered in an unfair and unreasonable manner to many of our provider members we would have adamantly opposed Medicaid expansion,” Schwab said.

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Mitchell Daily Republic – OPINION: Don’t turn your back on working poor

Medicaid expansion found a strong ally this week from John T. Porter, CEO of Avera Health. His challenge in the Mitchell Daily Republic is powerful and worth the read in full:

“I challenge each of us to be a voice for those who need our support and ask for a plan to help our neighbors receive the health coverage and routine care they need. As a democracy, we have pledged to help those in need with social programs when we can best provide support. Expanding Medicaid is a prime way we can help the working poor in our communities live healthier lives.”

John T. Porter, CEO Avera Health

Ultimately, Republicans in Pierre aren’t going to budge on Medicaid expansion unless they feel enough public pressure to move on the issue. One way you can make a difference is by writing a letter to the editor calling on Governor Daugaard and the state legislature to expand Medicaid.

Will you be a voice for those who need our support?

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Noem’s #CostOfRepeal: 9,000 young South Dakotans lose coverage

Yet another damaging consequence of Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s push to repeal the Affordable Care Act is that 9,000 South Dakota young adults on their parents’ health insurance plans would now be at risk of losing their coverage. Noem and her Republican Congress’ obsession with repeal would leave more than 3 million young adults at the mercy of insurance companies, who would be free once again to do whatever they want to hike rates or kick young adults off their parents’ plans altogether. Continue Reading »

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Noem’s #CostOfRepeal: Seniors pay more, lose free preventative services

Congresswoman Kristi Noem continues to demand repeal of the Affordable Care Act. But at what cost to seniors?

Since the health care law was enacted, nearly 7 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved a total of $9 billion on prescription drugs. That’s an average savings of about $1,200 per person since the health care law started closing the “donut hole.”

It used to be the case that when people with Medicare hit a certain threshold of spending on prescription drugs, they would suddenly have to pay out-of-pocket for the entire cost of the prescription drugs until they reached catastrophic coverage. Now, the Affordable Care Act is closing this gap in coverage, the so-called “donut hole.”

As a result, here in South Dakota, in just the first 10 months of 2013, approximately 8200 people with Medicare have saved a total of $5,823,206 on prescription drugs, which is an average discount of $714 per person.

Additionally, new data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services today shows that, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, in the first 11 months of 2013 alone, an estimated 25.4 million people with traditional Medicare – including approximately 84,000 South Dakotans – received at least one free preventive service at no out-of-pocket cost, such as an annual wellness visit or mammogram.

Helping middle class families take advantage of the benefits of the health care law, like ensuring millions of seniors and people with disabilities have access to more affordable prescription medications and free preventive services through Medicare, should be a top priority for lawmakers in Washington. Yet instead of working to fix the law, Congresswoman Noem and her tea party friends have voted to repeal the health care law more than 40 times. They even shut down the government to prevent new benefits, like saving seniors money on prescription drugs and preventative services, from taking effect.

We’ll need folks in every corner of the state to share Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s #CostOfRepeal. Will you help?

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#CostsOfRepeal: Noem Would Take Away Affordable Coverage from 92k Uninsured South Dakotans

What’s the cost of repealing the Affordable Care Act? 92,000 uninsuredSouth Dakotans could lose access to affordable health plans.

Congresswoman  Kristi Noem’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act could mean up to 92,000 uninsured South Dakotans won’t be able to buy affordable health care plans for $100 a month or lessKristi Noem

If Congresswoman Noem had her way, repealing the Affordable Care Act would leave 41 million uninsured Americans to contend with a broken system that led too many people into bankruptcy and where their only recourse is emergency room care, driving up costs for everyone.

In fact, six in 10 people who are uninsured can find a plan for $100 a month or less, but Congresswoman Noem’s House Republicans have voted nearly 50 times to take away affordable coverage from 41 million uninsured Americans, including 92,000 in South Dakota.

Let your neighbors know that you’re not going to bear Noem’s #CostOfRepeal. Write a letter to the editor today:

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BACKGROUND:

HHS: 56 Percent of Eligible Uninsured Qualify for Health Insurance Costing $100 a Month or Less. “Under the Affordable Care Act, advanced payment of the premium tax credits will be available to help eligible individuals and families afford insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace beginning January 1, 2014, and states may expand Medicaid eligibility for low-income adults.   There are currently 41.3 million eligible uninsured Americans.  In states that are expanding Medicaid, a total of 23.2 million people, or 56 percent of the 41.3 million eligible uninsured, may qualify for Medicaid, CHIP, or tax credits to purchase coverage for $100 or less per person per month.” [HHS.gov, September 2013]

House Republicans Have Voted 46 Times to Repeal or Dismantle the Affordable Care Act. “Republican elected officials have seen the Affordable Care Act as essentially unfixable—that’s why House Republicans voted 46 times to repeal or delay the implementation of the law, instead of working with the White House over the past three years to identify and solve problems within it of the sort that tend to accumulate in any such massive piece of legislation.” [The Atlantic11/27/13]

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47k South Dakota kids protected from health discrimination

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 17 million children – 47,000 in South Dakota – will be protected from discrimination based on their health.

Because of the health care law, since 2010 insurance companies have been prohibited from denying health coverage for the up to 17 million children with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, asthma, or diabetes. Starting in 2014, insurance companies will also no longer be able to deny coverage for adults or charge anyone higher premiums based on health status or history.

Helping middle class families take advantage of the benefits of the health care law like the security of affordable health care coverage and protection from discrimination based on pre-existing conditions should be a top priority for lawmakers in Washington. 346,000 South Dakotans have preexisting conditions that insurance companies used to deny care, including 47,000 kids.

Yet instead of working to fix the law, Congresswoman Kristi Noem has voted to repeal the health care law more than 40 times, even shutting down the government to prevent new benefits like ending discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, taking away peace of mind for millions of children and their parents.

What’s Congresswoman Noem’s #CostOfRepeal? 17 million children – including 47,000 in South Dakota – who can be discriminated against by the insurance companies.

Send Noem Home

Congresswoman Kristi Noem wants to dismantle Medicare, gut food assistance for families, keep tax breaks for millionaires & billionaires. Be a volunteer to help Send Noem Home!
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#CostsOfRepeal: Noem Would Deny Mental Health Coverage for 203K South Dakotans

Congresswoman Kristi Noem is obsessed with repealing the Affordable Care Act. But at what cost? 

Repealing the Affordable Care Act could mean that 60 million Americans would lose coverage and face discrimination for mental health illness, including 203,000 people in South Dakota.

One in five adults experience mental illness every year. Congresswoman Noem’s repeal plan would throw Americans back into the old broken system, where insurance companies were free to refuse coverage for mental health services and discriminate against patients suffering from mental illness.

The Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to cover mental health and substance abuse disorder services as an essential medical service, meaning 60 million Americans would be denied the largest expansion of mental health coverage in a generation. The law also prohibits insurers from denying coverage to patients or charging them more because of a preexisting mental health condition.

This is the Affordable Care Act at work. Don’t let Congresswoman Kristi Noem take us back to the old system.

Send Noem Home

Congresswoman Kristi Noem wants to dismantle Medicare, gut food assistance for families, keep tax breaks for millionaires & billionaires. Be a volunteer to help Send Noem Home!
  • Please let us know what more you can do to help.

BACKGROUND

The Affordable Care Act Prevents Insurance Companies from Denying Coverage to those with Mental Health Issues. “Under the law, insurers must now pay for many things that used to be optional, like prescription drugs, having a baby, and mental health care, among other services. […] Obama’s signature health care legislation addresses this problem in explicit terms. Under the law, which takes effect Jan. 1, mental health and substance abuse services are classified among the 10 ‘Essential Health Benefits.’ Health insurance marketplaces cannot apply yearly or lifetime dollar limits on coverage of these benefits. The marketplaces also cannot deny anyone coverage or charge more for pre-existing conditions. […] Under the ACA, health plans are required to cover preventative services, including behavioral assessments for children, at no additional cost. Coverage will also include behavioral health treatment, such as psychotherapy, and substance abuse treatment – both for inpatient and outpatient care.” [San Francisco Chronicle,11/22/13]

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Daugaard Sells Budget, Sells Out 48k Medicaid Expansion Beneficiaires

Governor Dennis Daugaard hit the road yesterday to sell his budget at the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Governor’s Luncheon.

By selling his budget, however, he’s selling out 48,000 uninsured working South Dakotans who’d qualify for the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid Expansion if only Daugaard would accept the feds offer of $214 million.

Daugaard’s afraid the feds aren’t going to keep their promise to pay for Medicaid expansion. Funny thing – only one group of people is talking about repeal.

Maybe Daugaard should talk to them first…

I want to be a volunteer!

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