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Koch Brothers Fight SD Medicaid Expansion; Someone Fights Back for Governor Daugaard

We know which Republicans are doing the Koch Brothers’ bidding. Rep. Don Haggar (R-10/Sioux Falls) and Senator Ried Holien (R-5/Watertown) are sponsoring House Bill 1234, which would strip the Governor of the authority to expand Medicaid and subject any state Medicaid plan amendment or waiver to a vote of the Legislature. HB 1234 would treat any such vote “as an extraordinary expense in a special appropriation separate and distinct from the General Appropriations Act,” meaning that Medicaid expansion would have to receive a two-thirds vote.

The Koch Brothers have dispatched their Americans for Prosperity operatives to numerous states to oppose the Medicaid expansion made possible by President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. In Montana, AFP pressured Republican legislators by hosting town hall meetings in their districts, meetings of which those legislators were not notified and at which AFP tried to prevent those those legislators from speaking. Kochs’ lobbyists are pressuring South Dakota’s legislators as well, hoping they can persuade South Dakota to pass up the opportunity to provide affordable health coverage for 50,000 South Dakotans, stimulate the economy with hundreds of millions of new federal dollars each year,  create thousands of jobs, ease the burden of indigent health care costs for counties, and get the feds to fulfill their treaty obligation to provide health care to South Dakota’s American Indian residents to boot.

It Makes Sense for South Dakota
“It Makes Sense for South Dakota,” says someone who wants our state to expand Medicaid.

The Koch Brothers aren’t the only ones with money to spend on this issue. Someone is paying to distribute buttons and other materials promoting Governor Daugaard’s plan under the slogan, “It Makes Sense for South Dakota.” (That’s a nice generic slogan, applicable to almost any proposal not originating from the South Dakota Legislature’s Republican caucus.) That someone also has the money to pay Sioux Falls ad agency Epicosity to whip up, a quick little website promoting Medicaid expansion and touting Governor Dennis Daugaard’s role in bringing South Dakota that sensible policy:

Join Gov. Daugaard in his support for expanding federal funding of Medicaid in South Dakota. Why? Because it just makes sense.

It’s a no-brainer – here’s why:

  • 1,000s of hard-working South Dakotans need coverage to stay healthy and productive
  • Expanding Medicaid in SD will have zero impact on the state’s budget
  • Increasing Medicaid access helps 50,000 facing tough times who don’t qualify for Medicaid
  • S.D. counties would see savings through poor relief

Let your legislators know you support expansion [author unknown, home page,, downloaded 2016.02.08].

Governor Daugaard is seizing a unique opportunity to solve a long-standing reimbursement issue with Indian Health Service and expand Medicaid to cover an additional 50,000 South Dakotans at no additional cost to state taxpayers [author unknown, FAQ,, downloaded 2016.02.08].

Whoever’s bankrolling also had just enough spare change to throw together a crappy slideshow with a sales pitch from Governor Daugaard and some gentle grandma-petting-a-puppy-on-a-spring-day music (next time you’re watching some dreary PowerPoint, fix your eyes on the screen, then rock back and forth and side to side in your seat and hum softly—presto! it’s a movie!):

The Epicosity appears to include setting up Sense4SD Facebook and Twitter accounts. Neither account gives us any idea who’s responsible for the content provided. The Sense4SD Facebook About page offers nothing but a short description:

Medicaid expansion makes sense for hard-working South Dakota families and our economy. Support Governor Daugaard’s plan and learn more at [Sense4SD, Facebook About, downloaded 2016.02.08].

…and a long description:

Support Governor Daugaard’s common-sense proposal for expanding health care coverage to more hard-working South Dakotans. Learn more and contact your legislators at [Sense4SD, Facebook About, downloaded 2016.02.08].

In just 44 words, we see the Governor’s name twice and the phrases “hard-working” and “common-sense.” That smells like political speech-writing to me, as much about promoting the person as the plan.

The Facebook page has 300 likes; Sense4SD’s Twitter presence is nearly as attractive, so far garnering just 5 likes and 25 followers, several of them state employees.

I’m glad someone is pushing back against the Koch Brothers and the legislators big-money can cow into bad legislation. I just wish I knew who was defending Governor Daugaard’s plan to fully embrace the hard-working President Obama’s common-sense Medicaid expansion.

WHOIS information for Domain Name: SENSE4SD.COM
Registry Domain ID: 1998350752_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server:
Registrar URL:
Updated Date: 2016-01-28T12:14:18.00Z
Creation Date: 2016-01-28T20:14:18.00Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2017-01-28T20:14:18.00Z
Registrar: ENOM, INC
Registrar IANA ID: 48
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Organization: EPICOSITY
Registrant Street: 1741 SOUTH CLEVELAND AVE SUITE 302
Registrant City: SOUIX FALLS
Registrant State/Province: SD
Registrant Postal Code: 57103
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.6052753742
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: WEB@EPICOSITY.COM


  1. mike from iowa 2016-02-08 08:27

    A type of measurement used in association with Epicology, used to study the Value of one’s Epic-ness

    Can hardly wait for the new word for epic failure.

  2. Mark Winegar 2016-02-08 10:33

    What’s the problem Corey? Someone is fighting back against the Koch Bros. and for medicaid expansion. That’s good! I don’t care about the quality of the video as much as I do the quality of the message. Take a deep breath and maybe a nap. You’ve been working hard and I appreciate it but I think you’re being a bit too touchy on this one.

  3. W R Old Guy 2016-02-08 12:11

    I heard an ad by Americans for Prosperity on a Rapid City radio station saying that the Medicaid expansion is just more Obamacare we can’t afford and to call the Governor at a sepcific phone number on 1-26-16. I’m surprised I haven’t heard it on other stations.

  4. jerry 2016-02-08 12:15

    Rapid City is the bastion of right wing idiots that barely have the dexterity to push the numbers on their phones. But they know how to scream and shriek about anything anti Obama. They still think that Obama is running against their beloved Trump as he is a Muslim and born in Hawaii, wherever the hell that is.

  5. Lynn 2016-02-08 12:27

    Rapid City is a very nice town!

  6. jerry 2016-02-08 12:28

    Lynn, you would argue with a sign.

  7. Bob Newland 2016-02-08 12:36

    It’s Cory. Not Corey.

    Repeat after me 500 times. It’s Cory. Not Corey.

    Don’t argue with me on this one, Lynndiot.

  8. larry kurtz 2016-02-08 12:38

    Where is a decent place to eat breakfast in Rapid?

  9. mike from iowa 2016-02-08 12:46

    Mark-maybe Master wants to nominate whoever is defending the guv’s plan for a Nobel Peace Prize. Doesn’t sound at all sinister to me. Might even be a potential ally for other battles.

  10. jerry 2016-02-08 13:02

    Ron’s across from Taco Bell on the west side

  11. Lynn 2016-02-08 13:32

    Tally’s is a great place to meet for coffee and was there just a few days ago and will be back in Rapid later this week.

  12. jerry 2016-02-08 14:12

    There you go Mr. Kurtz, head on down to Tally’s and hang out with Lynnerooski. Should be interesting table talk.

  13. larry kurtz 2016-02-08 14:15

    Tally’s has a crappy menu in my view. Bully Blends was my favorite but it changed hands. Colonial House is Republican-owned, so is the Millstone. Another other ideas? Westside?

  14. jerry 2016-02-08 14:45

    Ron’s, but it is closed on the weekend. I went to Tally’s sometime back for a meal, first and last time for that piece of work. I thought it was an appetizer, turns out, it was the main course. I am not familiar with really anyplace other than something close to the interstate like IHOP or Perkins in Rapid City. I did go to Ron’s to meet a customer there and had pretty good food, so I know about that.

  15. leslie 2016-02-08 14:47

    lotta people, politicos, are going to the little red restaurant, used to be Happy Joe’s pizza years ago, in the back on Campbell nearer to East North Street intersection.

    West side, I duhn no–anybody else?

  16. jerry 2016-02-08 20:56

    Obama just tossed in 100% funding for Medicaid Expansion for those states who did not expand like normal ones. Daugaard held his cards and now he got the 100% funding deal. No holding him back now man, Go Denny Go! Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot use that political capital you have been storing up.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-08 23:10

    WR Old Guy—just more ObamaCare? That says a lot about what’s really motivating AFP. The Affordable Care Act is the signature victory of the Obama Administration. AFP, the Kochs, Daugaard, and all the other opponents have lost pretty much every argument against it. They can’t repeal it. They haven’t offered any viable alternative plan. They have nothing else to throw against it. The Medicaid expansion is the last bit they really fight in the states and use to brag about their organizing skill. I guess they have to keep their interns busy with something. But good grief, AFP, can you not just admit defeat and go work on some other issue to sustain your Koch-y concentration of wealth?

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-08 23:12

    Good find, Feeling Blue! Even if this propaganda is on our side, advocating the right thing, I want to know who’s paying for it.

  19. W R Old Guy 2016-02-09 12:44

    The Marlins restaurant at exit 55 (Pilot Truck stop) has good breakfasts also. Surprisingly the Rapid City Regional Hospital cafeteria has excellent omelets.

  20. jerry 2016-02-09 12:57

    Kochamamie rabbit trails from the establishment owners to destroy the fabric of what makes America great. By eliminating the Medicaid Expansion, it puts even more pressure on states like South Dakota’s limited resources called money. Bankrupting the state is what these guys really want to do. They already rape the BLM for dirt cheap grazing, so why not do it on a state level.

  21. larry kurtz 2016-02-09 13:31

    Thanks guys. The coffee place in Main Street Square is pretty good. Anything else downtown?

  22. mike from iowa 2016-02-09 13:43

    From Wonkette-Brownback of Kansas wouldn’t spend state money for basic services for mental patients: Ouch. The editorial goes on to give many examples with many dollar figures to show how Brownback and Company have basically raped and pillaged the state, but there’s none stupider than this shortsighted garbage fire:

    Staff shortages are most acute at the state’s two hospitals for people with severe psychiatric problems. Nurses and support staff at the state hospitals in Larned and Osawatomie work so many extra hours that concerns for staff and patient safety are well founded.

    Because of security breaches at Osawatomie, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cut off Medicare payments for patients. The state must now pick up the cost, about $600,000 a month.

    So, you fail to fund services at their most basic levels and that, in turn, leads to more costs down the line.

    But the wealthy got swell tax cuts and everyone else got sales tax increases.


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