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[MM Curator Summary]: A lotta cash was spent on all those Medicaid expansion ads. Where did it come from?
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The group wanting to pass Medicaid expansion in South Dakota reported raising more than $2 million since May 2022, campaign finance reports from the secretary of state’s office show.
In direct contributions from entities, South Dakotans Decide Healthcare received $500,000 payments from South Dakota’s three major hospitals – Avera, Sanford and Monument.
SDAHO Enterprises, the wholly-owned subsidiary of South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations, contributed two payments of $500,000 and $100,000.
South Dakotans Decide Healthcare reported spending $1.6 million on advertising and spending $2.1 million for an ending balance of $524,672.
Constitutional Amendment D, which is one of two statewide ballot questions, would amend the South Dakota Constitution to expand Medicaid eligibility to help provide medical coverage for low-income people in designated categories.
The Legislative Research Council’s Fiscal Note for Amendment D says Medicaid expansion would cover 42,500 new individuals for a cost of $1.5 billion in the first five years, where the state would pay $166 million and earn a general fund savings of $162 million.
Proponents – Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender and retired businessman Jim Woster – say passing Amendment D will return more federal tax money to the state and allow South Dakota to use more federal funds on resident’s health.
“Amendment D will strengthen rural hospitals and clinics and make it easier for people in rural South Dakota to get health care,” Allender and Woster wrote in the proponent section in the Secretary of State’s official ballot question pamphlet.
Opponents – Americans for Prosperity State Director Keith Moore – said Medicaid expansion in South Dakota will impact the state’s budget in the future.
“Expanding Medicaid shreds our Constitution and expands services to able-bodied adults under ObamaCare,” Moore wrote in the opponent section in the Secretary of State’s official ballot question pamphlet.
The “No on Amendment D” group created by state lawmakers John Wiik (R-Big Stone City) and Ryan Maher (R-Isabel) reported $3,646 in donated goods but no money raised.
Dakotans for Health reports $93K
Up until the final day listed by state law to withdraw an initiated measure, it appeared Medicaid expansion would be voted on with both Constitutional Amendment D, sponsored by South Dakotans Decide Healthcare, and Initiated Measure 28, sponsored by Dakotans for Health.
That changed when Dakotans for Health contacted the secretary of state’s office to withdraw the measure from the November 2022 general election ballot.
Dakotans for Health, chaired and co-founded by Rick Weiland, will be gathering signatures for a 2024 ballot measure on aborition. The group wants to create a Constitutional Amendment to establish a right to an abortion in South Dakota.
Abortion is currently illegal in South Dakota under state law after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade with its ruling on the Dobbs v. Jackson case in June 2022.
The group called Life Defense Fund, sponsored by state lawmaker Jon Hansen (R-Dell Rapids), has organized to oppose any measures to legalize abortion in South Dakota. The group officially filed paperwork to form in August 2022 and reports raising $17,529.