Sponsored - For nearly a decade, patient advocacy organizations have worked tirelessly to convince the state legislature to expand Medicaid on behalf of more than 40,000 South Dakotans who desperately need access to health care.
Now, they’re done waiting.
Last year, AARP South Dakota, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, the South Dakota State Medical Association and the South Dakota Nurses Association launched South Dakotans Decide Healthcare to put Medicaid expansion on the ballot with one of the broadest coalitions of support to ever launch a ballot measure in our state.
They are standing up for parents, employees of small businesses, and rural residents across our state who need access to doctors and medication; hardworking residents who can’t afford health insurance and find themselves facing medical bankruptcies after a single trip to the emergency room; and South Dakotans who are tired of sending their tax dollars to Washington, D.C. and other states when we could bring that money home to South Dakota.
Access to health coverage makes it easier to work, find a new job and succeed in today’s economy. Too often, families without insurance are forced to avoid necessary care or timely early detection screenings. The health coverage provided by Medicaid helps reduce the burden of chronic and life-threatening illnesses by offering access to prevention services and screenings, treatment and care that improves outcomes and save lives.
The state’s Legislative Research Council recently found that Medicaid expansion would cover 42,500 South Dakotans and would save the state $63 million in its first two years. Over five years, Medicaid expansion would return more than $1.3 billion to South Dakota from Washington, D.C., at a cost of only $3.8 million.
Medicaid expansion will also protect rural health care for farmers and small businesses, protecting our vital agriculture economy. Rural residents already drive too far for health care, and eleven of the state’s rural hospitals are at risk of closure. Rural facilities are often the only source of care for communities and they shoulder the cost of treating uninsured patients. Medicaid expansion will help keep these vital hospitals and clinics open.
South Dakotans Decide Healthcare has already been endorsed by the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations, South Dakota Education Association, South Dakota Farmers Union, Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas, Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board, and more.
More than 40,000 South Dakotans—including parents, farmers, and small business employees—are counting on all of us to get the health care they need.