U.S. Senate candidate Dan Ahlers says South Dakota struggles to provide affordable health care. He’s right: as reported here last year, our failure to expand Medicaid has denied our rural hospitals the benefits that rural hospitals in more sensible states have enjoyed.
Supporting this position is Sanford chief medical officer Dr. Allison Suttle, who writes in Modern Healthcare that “rural populations are suffering substantial institutional losses”:
As a result, rural hospitals in the states that have refused to participate—hospitals already operating their public healthcare systems with the slimmest of margins and resources—are now collapsing and closing at an quickening rate [Dr. Allison Suttle, “Rural America Faces a Healthcare Access Crisis,” Modern Healthcare, 2019.09.21].
Sr. Suttle says that if you love babies, you have to support insuring more South Dakotans:
The best outcomes for patients ultimately depend upon whether or not they are insured. The challenges we face in delivering care to a rural population, insured or not, are steep. I’m a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist and have spent most of my career serving this population.
I have seen women show up for their first prenatal visit when they are already well into their second trimester. This can prove dangerous for the mother and baby. Early prenatal care is critical in identifying, treating and managing health conditions, thereby reducing the risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery and improving maternal and birth outcomes.
The nonpartisan Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission has confirmed what should be obvious: Women without health insurance are far less likely to receive adequate prenatal care than women with coverage [Suttle, 2019.09.21].
Yet Senator Mike Rounds has supported overturning the Affordable Care Act and throwing millions of Americans off the insurance rolls.
Dan, campaign on that issue—doctor’s orders!