South Dakota group starts petition to expand Medicaid in South Dakota

Published: Mar. 6, 2021 at 9:45 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The group Dakotans4health held their first petition signing for an amendment to Medicaid in South Dakota to be placed on the 2022 ballot.

“Dakotans4health was organized to bring light to these kinds of issues not only Medicaid expansion and that we really need to bring people into the fold, but to educate people on these issues as well,” said Pam Cole, Volunteer Grass Roots Organizer for Dakotans4health.

According to the Department of Social Services, individuals who are covered by South Dakota Medicaid are children, low-income pregnant women or parents, seniors in nursing homes, and people with physical or developmental issues.

The proposed expansion would provide Medicaid for anyone over the age of 18 and under 65 whose income is below 133% of the federal poverty level.

“Right now, there are currently 42,000 people in South Dakota who cannot get health insurance and that’s for a variety of reasons, the biggest one is they simply can’t afford, their working poor; they can’t afford the cost of the premium,” said Cole.

Those for expansion believe this can also help those in the native communities.

“Indian Health Services is partially funded by the federal government, so that would also assist our native people in South Dakota to achieve that higher level of coverage,” said Cole.

Those against expansion, see it as too much of a financial burden to the state, but those for believing it is needed to help those in need.

“We know that the ballot initiative effort is probably the only way we’re ever going to get really needed health care to South Dakotans and we’re willing to put in the work and we think we will be successful,” said Betty DeBerg, a South Dakota resident.

More information about the petition can be found by clicking here.

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