Medicaid expansion for South Dakota


Letter to the editor

Joe Biden is doing his best to strengthen Medicaid’s support for long-term care for the elderly and for people with disabilities. Therefore, now is the time to beef up Medicaid in South Dakota so that, at last, every adult and child gets health coverage. The expansion of Medicaid has been offered since 2014 by The Affordable Care Act (the ACA). It’s high time to move on this offer.

Amending the South Dakota Constitution to enable Medicaid expansion in South Dakota would extend health care coverage to 42,500 South Dakotan childless, non-disabled adults regardless of their income. The federal government is offering $301.8 million to be matched by $20.8 million from the state to expand its Medicaid program. It seems prudent that this cake get frosted ahead of the Biden American Jobs Plan (AJP) proposal of $400 billion (over eight years) that will, itself, be managed via Medicaid’s federal-state partnership. The Biden AJP intends to support long-term care for the elderly and people with disabilities. Taken together, Medicaid expansion and Biden’s AJP are important commitments to our growing aging population. Thirty-eight states have implemented Medicaid expansion since 2014. It’s time for South Dakota to do likewise.

The ballot petition for amending the state constitution needs lots of signatures in order for Medicaid expansion to get on the 2022 ballot.

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