SD – Senate rejects Medicaid expansion, leaving it to election

MM Curator summary

[MM Curator Summary]: State reps voted naye on expansion by a 2 to 1 margin.


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PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A proposal to expand Medicaid health coverage eligibility was defeated in the South Dakota Senate Tuesday, leaving the decision to voters in the November election.

Republican Sen. Wayne Steinhauer had brought a proposal to the Legislature to make Medicaid, a federal-state health insurance program for low-income people, available to people who live below 133% of the federal poverty level. That is currently about $17,000 annually for an individual or $35,000 for a family of four.

“This thing is about people,” he said in an effort to counter arguments from his fellow Republicans that it would grow the size of government and drain money from elementary and high schools.

The Republican-controlled Senate rejected his bill on a 12 to 23 vote.

But a campaign backed by South Dakota’s major health care systems is trying to get voters to pass a constitutional amendment to expand Medicaid eligibility on the November ballot.

“It’s clear that the only path to expanding Medicaid in South Dakota is by letting the people vote on it directly,” said Zach Marcus, the manager for the campaign, in a statement.

He asserted that the proposal would allow 42,500 more people to access health care coverage and bring $1.3 billion in federal money to the state.


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