Physicians and patients are waiting to hear if Governor Daugaard will expand Medicaid to cover more people. The current program covers about eight percent of adults in South Dakota. But 15 percent of the state's population is at or below the federal poverty level. Physicians have spoken out about how not expanding Medicaid would affect them but how will it affect the rest of us?
"Honestly how do you sleep at night" said Ellen McDearmont. She doesn't see why the state is considering not expanding Medicaid. She says "think of all the people that don't have health care, don't have access to health care."
McDearmont's family once was a recipient of Medicaid. "It really helped my family for those couple of years" she said. She and her husband have more options now. "I mean we'll manage, we'll juggle things and we'll manage to pay. So he can actually have insurance. If god forbid he gets sick and needs it but think of the all the people that don't have the option. Options that Medicaid could provide she says.
Governor Daugaard is concerned that the Federal Government will not follow through in funding the majority of the medicaid expansion costs.
Don Frankenfeld consulting economist says of Daugaard "he's worried that we will break the bank, and that's a legitimate concern to worry about but ultimately we need to address the compassionate needs of the citizens." Frankenfeld says health care reform is more about politics than people. "The system is collapsed to the point where republicans and democrats are no longer able to work together to accomplish what needs to be accomplished for the good of the nation" he said.
And McDearmont agrees "I don't think health care should be Politicized."
To Ellen McDearmont there is no question whether Medicaid should be expanded. she says "Medicaid expansion is good for all the states."
Medicaid expansion could potentially cut South Dakota's uninsured rate by more than half.