SIOUX FALLS (AP) – A ballot measure campaign to expand Medicaid eligibility in South Dakota received an endorsement on Monday from an organization that advocates for the state’s cities and towns.
The nod from the South Dakota Municipal League shows growing momentum for the proposal, which will appear on ballots in November. It would make Medicaid health coverage available to people who live below 133% of the federal poverty level, which is currently about $17,000 annually for an individual or $35,000 for a family of four.
“This would return hundreds of millions of our tax dollars to our state, keep rural hospitals open, and provide affordable care to hard-working South Dakotans all over the state,” Steve Allender, the mayor of Rapid City and the president of the Municipal League, said in a statement.
South Dakota is one of 12 states that have not expanded federal health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Even as the federal government has tried to entice those states with financial incentives, key Republican lawmakers have resisted Medicaid expansion – and moved to make it harder for voters to expand it. They have criticized the proposal as an expansion of government that would create higher taxes.