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Dakotans for Health Could Spend Full Year Collecting Signatures for Medicaid Expansion Initiatives

Dakotans for Health is evidently taking my advice and gearing up to launch its petition drive to place Medicaid expansion on the 2022 ballot as soon as possible. Initiative sponsor Rick Weiland submitted his draft language for both an initiated law and a constitutional amendment in May and got his required explanations from Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg in July. Once the Legislative Research Council provides its fiscal notes on the measures, Dakotans for Health will be able to print circulator handouts, send the final petition to Secretary of State Barnett, and be ready to collect signatures on day one of the 2022 petition circulation period, which starts this November 8 and runs until November 8, 2021 (maybe longer, if I and the Eighth Circuit have anything to say about it).

The fiscal notes for Medicaid expansion should be thrilling to read. The LRC could just revise this graphic from Dakotans for Health showing the fiscal and economic impact of Medicaid expansion in Iowa:

Fiscal and economic impact of Medicaid expansion in Iowa, graphic from Dakotans for Health, retrieved 2020.09.07.
Fiscal and economic impact of Medicaid expansion in Iowa, graphic from Dakotans for Health, retrieved 2020.09.07.

…or maybe this simple pie chart showing that for every dollar North Dakota invested, it got $12 back from Uncle Sam:

Return on state investment in Medicaid expansion in North Dakota, graphic from Dakotans for Health, retrieved 2020.09.07.
Return on state investment in Medicaid expansion in North Dakota, graphic from Dakotans for Health, retrieved 2020.09.07.

…or this data from Idaho projecting that Medicaid expansion will pay for itself and put the state’s FY2022 budget $3.5M in the black:

Fiscal impact of Medicaid expansion in Idaho, projection for FY2022 budget, graphic from Dakotans for Health, retrieved 2020.09.07.
Fiscal impact of Medicaid expansion in Idaho, projection for FY2022 budget, graphic from Dakotans for Health, retrieved 2020.09.07.

With fiscal evidence like that, the hardest work for Dakotans for Health will be getting the 16,961 signatures they need for the initiated law petition and the 33,921 signatures they need for the initiated amendment petition in a safe fashion that doesn’t expose circulators, signers, or notaries to undue risk of coronavirus. Starting early reduces that risk by reducing the number of signatures that circulators have to collect each day; giving them more time to keep their pens, clipboards, and handouts clean; and reducing the pressure they may feel to crowd signers together to get lots of signatures at once. Social distancing is anathema to petition drives and campaigning of any sort, but by starting early, Dakotans for Health allows its circulators to keep some social distance between signers.

Hire ten circulators part-time to each collect 15 signatures a day, start collecting November 8, 2020, and by November 8, 2021, you can have over 54,000 signatures.

And once Medicaid expansion hits the ballot, it’s an easy sell, for both caring, conscientious Democrats who recognize the value of taking care of each other and for bottom-line Republicans who look at the charts above and see Medicaid expansion as a fiscal boon for South Dakota.

Dakotans for Health is on the right track, starting early and making the case that we’ve seen clearly for years that South Dakota is losing lives and losing money and losing jobs by refusing to expand Medicaid. It’s absurd that we have to start working in 2020 to put this vital policy to a vote in 2022, but the results will be worth the effort.

Related Reading: The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains that Medicaid expansion covers lots of Americans who are at higher risk of coronavirus and, in the midst of the pandemic recession, protects many low-income workers’ access to affordable health care.

7 Comments

  1. John Dale 2020-09-07

    I’m s-canning The Internet. I’m building my own. Join me. Let’s make an economy robust enough to support the purchase of good food to prevent health problems, and medical care when needed.

  2. jerry 2020-09-07

    Get a couple of tin cans hooked together with a string to go nicely with you tin hat.

  3. Richard Schriever 2020-09-07

    John Dale – FYI – The internet was developed by the US government as a defense department communications tool. Just sayin’ it’s a socialism created media/technology. It was later GIVEN – for free – to private ISPs to take to the broader public. Kinda like the homesteading programs back in the previous century. Also. like those 19th century programs, the Internet has attracted a great many immigrants to this country and they have added greatly to our culture and economy. But if’n yooze all wants to stick with yer tin cans strung between trees…….

  4. grudznick 2020-09-07

    Is that the real Mr. Dale, or has he sort of tipped over the whole way into the edge?

    As to this Medicaid business, did not the Governor, Mr. Daugaard, try to do this and the libbies shot him in the foot?

  5. leslie 2020-09-08

    Maggie Haberman Retweeted
    Andrew Friedson
    @FriedsonAndrew
    Sep 6
    We estimate that over 250,000 of the reported cases between August 2 and September 2 are due to the Sturgis Rally. Roughly 19 percent of the national cases during this timeframe. [~$12B]

  6. Richard Schriever 2020-09-08

    grudz – Daugaard’s expansion failed because it did not conform to Federal law, which required the state to pitch in 10%. His plan was entirely Federally funded. I.E., it was the Federal LAW which was the pistol holder. A SD Repub. who defies the law – and his/her supporters who “forget” that fact and try to cast blame on “the other side” (of the law?). Where have we seen that before – and since??

  7. Debbo 2020-09-08

    “The 19th” makes the case for expanding Medicaid. Saves maternal and pediatric lives.
    is.gd/Um0u9f No paywall.

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