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No Lie: Federal 90% Match for Medicaid Expansion Doesn’t Go Away After Three Years

I’ve advocated the expansion of Medicaid since long before Amendment D made this year’s ballot. Throughout that advocacy, I have cited lots of reports, editorials, budget data, and research that show South Dakota will save lives and save money by taking advantage of this integral component of the Affordable Care Act.

I thus get a little cranky when someone comes up to me and says that when I cite facts about Medicaid expansion, proven in the 38 states that have adopted this sensible policy, I’m really just lying.

Such was the interaction I had yesterday with a woman committed to her own alternative reality and to dismissing as evil anyone who challenges her mistaken worldview. When I said, “Vote Yes on D to expand Medicaid” and explained that South Dakota can make health insurance available to 42,500 South Dakotans for just pennies on the dollar, thanks to the big federal matching dollars provided under the Affordable Care Act, she said “they” would take away funding and the costs would all fall on the state in three years.

I asked who “they” are, and she just looked at me.

I asked what would happen in three years that would trigger the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Again, she just looked at me, then reasserted that somehow federal funding would disappear.

I replied that the federal government’s ongoing 90% match for Medicaid expansion is the law of the land. The only way it goes away is if we repeal the Affordable Care Act, and even the Trump Congress of 2017 couldn’t muster the votes to do that. So, again, what’s going to happen in three years that will make the law of the land go away?

“You’re lying,” said the woman.

I know this tactic. Calling your opponent a liar is the resort of a person who can’t win the argument. It’s a signal that one’s initial expression of disagreement wasn’t really an invitation to discuss and seek common understanding but a declaration of a position that will not change and that will be defended by dismissing any dissenter as an enemy, not a neighbor and fellow citizen interested in figuring out what we as a community ought to do next to promote the general welfare.

I like to think that, when I hear people make incorrect statements about public policy, I’m able to discern deliberate lying from simple error. Last week, I said Senator Lee Schoenbeck’s claim that Amendment D would to future amendments to expand Medicaid beyond the parameters of the Affordable Care Act was illogical and incorrect, but I didn’t leap immediately to saying he was lying. I just said he was making a bad policy argument that wasn’t grounded in facts. Now that I’ve pointed out those facts, if Senator Schoenbeck doesn’t acknowledge those facts, if he persists in making his slippery-slope argument without providing new evidence that shows I’ve misread the ACA and the intentions of the sponsors of Amendment D, I might have to go further and say that Senator Schoenbeck is deliberately repeating a disproven claim.

But I’ll only call you a liar if the evidence shows you are indisputably wrong and you are repeating a statement you know to be wrong.

I could be wrong about the ongoing 90% federal match for Medicaid expansion. Maybe I’ve missed some point of the Affordable Care Act that causes states to lose their federal matching dollars after three years. But that hasn’t happened in any of the 38 states that have expanded Medicaid, and no one has shown me that the 90% federal match will go away in 2025, 2030, or any other year. Show me evidence to the contrary, and I will acknowledge my error and report that newly revealed fact.

But absent evidence, I will continue to state what appears to be fact: pass Amendment D, and Uncle Sam will send South Dakota hundreds of millions of dollars each year to cover tens of thousands of South Dakotans’ health care. That’s not a lie; that’s the law of the land that South Dakota has foolishly chosen not to take advantage of.


  1. P. Aitch 2022-08-11 09:18

    This fellow says to vote NO on Amendment D because “Big Medicine” wants you to vote YES. Really, Tim? Medical groups want more people to have health care? How utterly insidious is that?
    – It seems once elected every lie you tell instantly becomes “just a difference of opinion.”
    Greetings! Hope summer is going well for all of you. Marcia and I have been at our lake cabin with grandkids. There is something special about teaching grandkids to fish. Jonathan, 7 yrs. old, caught his first northern, off the dock no less. I had him run to the shoreline and reel in from there. God only knows what could happen on the dock with our chocolate lab Mocha dancing around and then trying to lift the northern out of the water onto the dock! The fish wasn’t big to us (3 lbs.), but to a 7-year-old, it was huge. Great memories!

    Let’s talk about ballot measures, specifically Medicaid Expansion, shall we? This is on the ballot on Nov. 8th as Constitutional Amendment D, Medicaid Expansion Initiative (2022). So what does Amendment D do?

    Constitutional Amendment D would amend the state constitution to require the state to provide Medicaid benefits to all adults between 18 and 65 with income below 133% of the federal poverty level beginning July 1st, 2023. Because the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) includes a 5% income disregard, this measure would effectively expand Medicaid to those incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level.

    How much is that you ask? It is $17,774 for an individual and $36,570 for a family of 4 in calendar year 2021.

    To date 38 states have done this (expanded Medicaid). South Dakota is one of the 12 states that have not.

    Who do you think supports Amendment D? Any guesses? It is sponsored by a group called SD Decide Healthcare and is sponsored by SD State Medical Association, SD Nurses Association, SD Education Association, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, SD AARP and many, many others. Looking at what organizations have donated money to Amendment D, thus far, are the following:

    Avera Health $250,000
    Farmers’ Union $250,000
    Sanford Health $250,000
    SDAHO Enterprises $250,000
    Monument Health, Inc. $100,000
    and others with lesser amounts, so far. It will be interesting to see how much those donations increase as we get closer to the General Election on Nov. 8th. South Dakota Healthcare has $1,572,585 in contributions. The cost of Amendment D for South Dakota is figured at around $80 million. Federal government has indicated they could fund South Dakota initially.

    So, why is this not a good idea? Thought you’d never ask! First off, the Federal government is approaching $30 trillion in debt with no end in sight. We keep taking all this “free” federal money, but what happens when and if the federal government goes bankrupt? It is almost unthinkable what would happen. I say it is time to draw a line in the sand and say, “enough is enough.”

    Another major reason not to do this is that we are covering the able-bodied workforce. Actually, we would be making winners and losers; those who make more than $17,774 and those who make less. It is the same for a family of four who make more than $36,570 and those who make less. This concept penalizes the able-bodied workforce who have worked hard to get a career that pays above this standard and those who have a job with health benefits. Is that what we want to do?

    Another point that needs to be made is that in South Dakota there are more jobs than workers available. Medicaid Expansion is only going to worsen our worker shortage.

    Please vote NO on Constitutional Amendment D.

    To the citizens of South Dakota and to the men and women in uniform, in honor of all who served, in respectful memory of all who fell, and in great appreciation to those who serve today, Thank You, for giving me the opportunity to represent you.

    Tim R. Goodwin, District 30 Representative

  2. Bob Newland 2022-08-11 09:34

    Tim, I liked it when you disassembled and reassembled that AR-15 while blindfolded. Even if you didn’t really do that, I bet you could if you wanted to.

  3. Nix 2022-08-11 10:03

    I am just a poor boy though my stories
    seldom told.
    I have jumbled my resistance for a pocket full of mumbles such as promises.
    All lies and jest.
    Still a man hears what he wants to hear
    what he wants to hear , and disregards
    the rest.

    Simon and Garfunkel – 1970.

  4. larry kurtz 2022-08-11 10:06

    Mr. Goodwin enjoys TRICARE benefits because he chose to be a soldier of fortune for the Hamiltonian empire Thomas Jefferson warned us about.

    Hypocritheocracy: thy name is Tim Goodwin.

  5. leader reader 2022-08-11 11:14

    You’re correct. The opposition is incorrectly advising people that the federal match sunsets after 7 years also. A Mike Zitterich has been posting a dakota leader article he wrote all over social media that spouts this inaccuracy. Of course you can’t convince him he’s wrong, even with evidence.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-11 12:22

    Zitterich—I wonder if he was the source of the misinformation shared by the woman I was speaking to. Has anyone else heard this incorrect sunset claim? Does anyone know where that seven-year sunset notion might come from?

  7. Jake 2022-08-11 16:13

    I think you’re on to something-I recall the name Zitterich blabbing such way back soon after Obama left WH. By lies and half-truths is the method they frequently employ.
    Of course T Goodwin (above blah blah) is automatically against (loaded with misfacts & fallacies) anything designed to be of more help to those in most need than some one like him who has more “bennies” of entitlements because of military and legislative service.
    Guys like him consider a legislative session or a term or two in congress as the premier bump to guaranteeing a worry free life where $ are concerned. Country be danged-I want mine!

  8. Arlo Blundt 2022-08-11 20:01

    Once you’ve repeated the Big Lie very often, there is no effort in repeating the “little lies”. The world will not explode if working people have health care. We’ve had a century for the private sector to “trickle down” affordable health care from the executive suites to the factory floor. It hasn’t happened. Once in a while, human progress wins…this is the time.

  9. Drey Samuelson 2022-08-11 22:32

    Excellent commentary, Cory, as usual!

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-12 09:19

    If you have to lie to support your argument, you obviously are losing the argument. Now if only the majority of voters would follow that principle… or at least agree on acknowledging and rejecting lies.

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