“South Dakotans Decide Healthcare” holds press conference on Medicaid expansion
PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota is just one of twelve states that has not yet expanded access to Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
But in November, “South Dakotans Decide Healthcare” hopes to change that.
“Everyone in South Dakota knows someone who finds themselves in this situation... Who is doing everything right, and working hard, but does not have employer sponsored health insurance,” said Zach Marcus, Spokesperson for South Dakotans Decide Healthcare.
Tuesday, the organization hosted a virtual press conference, alongside several other health activists, to explain why expanding Medicaid in South Dakota would be a net positive.
Supporters pointed to states that had expanded access, and said that rates of certain diseases there have dropped.
“So many of these (healthcare) costs could be prevented if people were able to have health insurance,” said Carissa Kemp, American Diabetes Association Government Affairs and Advocacy Director. “With health coverage, they would be better able to get the care that they need to properly manage their diabetes and stay healthy and out of the hospital. Through prevention, we can also help to reduce the costs of complications, and we can also help to prevent lost productivity in the workplace.”
Opponents of Medicaid expansion, including many Republican leaders, have argued that expanding Medicaid would drastically increase state spending, despite the federal government contributing 90% of the funds to the program. They also argue that Medicaid as a whole does not address the underlying problems that make healthcare expensive.
“Preventative health services, including regular screening mammograms, are covered under Medicaid and most health insurance plans without costs to the patient,” said Kirsten Smith, State Policy and Advocacy Manager for the Susan G. Komen organization, a breast cancer awareness group. “That is required by the Affordable Care Act. These screenings save lives and reduce burdens on the health care system.”
There will be two Medicaid expansion related initiatives on the November ballot. The one backed by South Dakotans Decide Healthcare will be Amendment D.
The general election will take place on November 8th.
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