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Freedom Caucus Lies About Medicaid Expansion, Leaves Solutions and Leadership to Other Republicans

The rightwing extremist legislators who constitute the South Dakota Freedom Caucus lie about election integrity. They are also lying about Medicaid expansion. These radical Republicans have responded to voters’ approval of Amendment D, expanding Medicaid in South Dakota, with a press release that “demands solutions to ObamaCare expansion“:

The measure that passed will force individuals from 18 to 65 years of age that make up to 133% above the federal poverty line onto Medicaid, with a 5-year projected total cost of $1.5 Billion dollars, according to estimates from the Legislative Research Council’s June 17, 2021 memorandum on the subject.

Opponents to the expansion point out that after the first two years the state will be responsible for a significant share of the costs – which some worry the state may not be able to afford in the long run. The Freedom Caucus also argues that many South Dakotans may lose their current health coverage after being forced onto Medicaid, something the Republican party promised to stop but some in the party promoted, according to statements from the Freedom Caucus [South Dakota Freedom Caucus, press release, 2022.11.11].

The “Freedom” in this caucus apparently stands for “freedom from facts”. In claiming that Medicaid expansion takes away people’s private insurance, SDFC is repeating the lie peddled by political parasite Keith Moore, who spoke for Americans for Prosperity’s campaign against Amendment D. Read Amendment D again: not one line of the approved amendment requires anyone to enroll in Medicaid and leave a private insurance plan. People eligible for Medicaid now as well as people who will be newly eligible for Medicaid when Amendment D takes effect on July 1 still choose to enroll in the program. Come July 1, no one from the Department of Social Services is going to come knocking on anyone’s door out of the blue and say, “Surprise! You’re on Medicaid now!”

If someone from the government did come to my door and say, “Hey, drop your private insurance; government is going to cover your health care now,” I’d be immensely grateful. But that’s not happening until we elect Raskin/Ocasio-Cortez in 2024….

The Fact-Freedom Caucus also misrepresents the cost of expanding Medicaid. They recite the LRC’s line in its fiscal note about the total cost of $1,515,214,000, but they ignore the actual figures the LRC provides laying out the amount the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee will have to budget:

  • The state’s share of expenses will be $166,244,000.
  • The state’s general fund savings will be $162,473,000.
  • The state’s net expenses for five years will be $3,767,000.

$3.77 million—that’s less than a third of the cost of the Rapid City shooting range, spread over five years, in return for which we help 52,000 South Dakotans get affordable health care. That’s not a “billion-dollar financial problem”; that’s a public-policy bargain!

Even if there is some minuscule budget problem with Medicaid expansion, don’t expect the Freedom Caucus to come up with a solution. True to form, these Trumpists offer no clear policy to fix the problem; they just clamor for solutions from the Republican leaders whom they accuse of pushing “government-run” healthcare:

“I was raised that you clean up the messes you create, and this is the mess Republican leadership needs to clean up,” said Representative Mulally of the South Dakota Freedom Caucus.

…“We understand that officially the South Dakota Republican Party didn’t promote Medicaid Expansion,” said Representative Randolph of the Freedom Caucus, “but the Republican party didn’t oppose it based on the tenets of the party platform either.”

…Around the time Governor Daugaard took office, the South Dakota Republican Party adopted a stance against socialized, or “government run,” healthcare as a part of their platform, illustrating a growing division between party leadership and their conservative membership. A disconnect that the South Dakota Freedom Caucus says the group was born out of according to some of its members.

Now the Freedom Caucus is demanding that the South Dakota Republican party and its members who supported the Medicaid Expansion passage, such as Senator Steinhauer who supported 2022 Senate Bills 102 and 186 to expand medicaid, or Representative Greg Jamison who publicly promoted its passage at the ballot box, come with solutions for the financial shortfall the state is anticipated to face along with the issues the Freedom Caucus says many South Dakotans will be facing in the coming years through losing their private insurance options [SDFC, 2022.11.11].

Again, the Freedom Caucus is arguing against slogans, not facts. Government does not run healthcare through Medicaid; government uses Medicaid to pay for health care.

The Freedom Caucus also demonstrates its disconnect with its elected duties. Government is not some outside entity for the Freedom Caucusers to rail against; the members of this group are part of the government. They are the people some voters have inexplicably elected to come up with policies and solve problems. Legislators, even rump Republicans, have a duty to come up with and promote public policies to solve problems.

The only thing the Freedom Caucusers get right is to view Republican leadership as an outside entity, because their caucus certainly doesn’t include any leaders. While the Freedom Caucus issued its false and feckless missive, the Senate Republicans met to choose their party leaders. The Senate GOP passed over any SDFC sympathizers and instead choose the usual crowd of mainstream Chamber of Commerce types who will support the ongoing reign of Senate King Lee Schoenbeck:

Casey Crabtree of Madison is the Majority Leader. Mike Diedrich of Rapid City is the Assistant Majority Leader. Majority Whips include Helene Duhamel, Jack Kolbeck, Ryan Maher and David Wheeler.

Lee Schoenbeck of Watertown is the party’s nominee for President Pro Tempore, which will be voted on by the full Senate in January [Perry Groten, “Republicans Choose State Senate Leaders,” KELO-TV, 2022.11.12].

Leaders lead with facts and solutions. The Freedom Caucus offers neither facts nor solutions and thus does not lead.

29 Comments

  1. larry kurtz 2022-11-12 07:55

    Keep ’em poor, keep ’em hungry and keep video lootery the best place to buy meth.

  2. grudznick 2022-11-12 08:10

    Senator Schoenbeck probably said

    It is good to be king

  3. P. Aitch 2022-11-12 08:16

    Freedom means being able to buy things as a group. *FYI – things are cheaper that way. Think COSTCO!

  4. grudznick 2022-11-12 08:33

    Freedom means not having to buy things as a group, but being able to afford what you want on your own since you worked hard enough to earn it and not rely on welfare to give it to you.

  5. cibvet 2022-11-12 08:59

    Exactly when will the state of South Dakota get off welfare? Maybe the politicians and lobbyists need to work harder instead of being on the government dole..

  6. 96Tears 2022-11-12 10:30

    The ironically named Freedom Caucus is redneck fascism on training wheels. They are not nearly a cancer on American politics as much as a stage 4 cancer on the crumbling Republican Party.

    Here in South Dakota, with its three electoral votes, they are the same everyday nutjobs we’ve seen since the days when Roger Hunt’s crash test dummy legislation made fools of his supporters. They are Lee Schoenbeck’s pain in the ass.

    For Democrats, they’re not our monkeys, not our show. Please pass the popcorn.

  7. Jake 2022-11-12 11:05

    grudz-so many of those that you espouse didn’t necessarily benefit from “working hard” as they looked at the ‘system’ and saw that those who were socially connected to ‘power’ and ‘influence’ were favored so well by said power and influence. This is socialism, is it not? The former pres for prime example….

  8. grudznick 2022-11-12 11:16

    It is good to get so many goats so early in the day.

  9. Jake 2022-11-12 11:50

    good to know your ‘conscience’ is aware of those facts, grudz! (no, not # of so-called goats, just facts)

  10. P. Aitch 2022-11-12 14:22

    Conservatives need to “work hard.”
    Liberals don’t because we “work smart”.
    *get these G** Damn goats out of my state!

  11. Richard Schriever 2022-11-12 14:47

    grudz – Freedom is enabled by employers who pay you the full value of your work and don’t have to rely on welfare programs supporting underpaid employees to make their business profitable. Successful farmers and ranchers should likewise be freed from their welfare dependency (60% of net income from government programs) by having a well-paid populace that can afford to pay the full price for farm/ranch products.

  12. grudznick 2022-11-12 14:53

    So we all agree that working to earn your money is part of what makes one free, and the money you earn is based on your work. Some work has more value that other work, and this is driven by the free market.

  13. P. Aitch 2022-11-12 18:33

    I agree that freedom means having as many choices as possible.
    Liberal states allow choices.
    Conservative states are afraid of letting someone choose to be different, so conservative states outlaw as many choices as possible.
    Freedom to choose creates diversity and diversity creates progress.

  14. grudznick 2022-11-12 19:12

    Have you not heard, Ms. P. h, that South Dakota is the freest state? Plus we have the strongest economy. Those things go hand in foot, I suspect the good economists would say.

  15. Curt 2022-11-12 20:33

    Facts are facts. People – even Grudz – can pretend otherwise, but it does not change the score.
    Get a job, Grudz.

  16. P. Aitch 2022-11-12 20:48

    Good one, grudznichts 🤣🤣🤣

  17. O 2022-11-12 23:31

    Doesn’t Medicaid expansion give more people freedom to make choices that oppressive health care costs denied them? The working poor ought not be denied their freedoms because of ailing health. Would you not agree, Grudzick (who I assume has the Government chipping in heftily for your health care along with your retirement — lifting your ability to enjoy freedom)?

  18. runs_with_fire 2022-11-13 06:43

    All smoke and mirrors to distract from the real issue… “Federal Reserve data indicates that as of Q4 2021, the top 1% of households in the United States held 32.3% of the country’s wealth, while the bottom 50% held 2.6%. In recent decades, wealth inequality has substantially increased in the United States”.
    Give the masses something to occupy their resources and vent their pent-up frustrations. Let the show begin! Whether it’s cooperate Democrats’ or truth denying Republicans they all create shinny objects look over here see what a mess this is? All made to distract from the over whelming issue, Income Inequality. The last thing they want is for the masses to focus on the real issue of corruption and corporate/legislative greed.

    No way the current powers that be would let the likes of Raskin/Ocasio-Cortez become a reality in 2024. That ticket would seek undermine and topple the current undemocratic autocracy that is the current political system in our country.

  19. M 2022-11-13 07:34

    What I earn will always be less than what a male earns, yet I run circles around them. In this country and especially this state, there is more than just sexism, racism, and the casual “you haven’t earned it” attitude. It’s more like a hatred towards others who men like Grudz think should always be lying flat on their backs to be screwed, kicked and spit on. And then when they are carried off to hospital, there is no medical care because “they haven’t earned it.” Like a caste system with the haves and the have nots and guess what color and gender the haves are.

    Many of the elders here are poor because they worked low skills jobs for low pay and many times the proper taxes were not withheld so they are living on $850.00 or so a month. Poverty continues to rise as the small-town stores gouge these people who some thinks are “less than.”

    Funny how the people who have the BEST insurance complain about Medicaid. Many of them are getting insurance that taxpayer’s foot the bill for. What’s good for the gander should be good for the goose and the ducks and the swans.

  20. runs_with_fire 2022-11-13 08:06

    Behind big money Justice always fails!

  21. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-11-13 09:13

    The Democratic Senate caucus also confabbed to elect its leadership. Senator Nesiba will be Minority Leader. Senator-Elect Bordeaux will be assistant minority leader. Senator-Elect Liz Larson will be Minority Whip. The votes were unanimous, so Senator Red Dawn Foster apparently didn’t mind being left out of leadership. But with only four members, the Senate Demcorats officially have more leaders than followers.

  22. grudznick 2022-11-13 09:37

    At least this year, Mr. H, they have 1 follower. And they have a fully 50% Indian caucus. That’s probably the first time that’s ever occurred, made possible only by the terrible showing of the Democrats outside of Indian Country.

    Mr. Nesiba will no doubt be a very effective leader, partnering across the aisle with Mr. Schoenbeck to better South Dakota for all its residents.

  23. Jake 2022-11-13 10:18

    grudz, your reply to ‘ms. p. h.’ just shows your head-in-the-sand ostrich mentality of your GOP in SD. YOU heard YOUR Governess say these words “freedom state” and constantly “parrot” them in your rantings! Your lockstep mentality of conservative thought process reminds one of the ills that hit Germany under Hitler and Mussolini in Italy and today’s Urban in Hungary. Your thinking magnified by the state’s GOP control of decades simply leaves us in SD (yourself included) being fed government $$$ from the “blue” states that you and Noem claim are “ruining” the country.
    Yep, those $2.00/lb. plus spring calves selling at the auction barns today must be President Joe Biden’s fault, too, wouldn’t you admit? This alone is putting millions more $$$ in play throughout the state, and you can’t claim the former pres had anything to do with this improved economy. Can you?

  24. P. Aitch 2022-11-13 14:10

    South Dakota Democrats have more political power than South Dakota Republicans. #TRUTH
    -It matters not the ridicule of you SD liberals by grudznichts, Pat Powers, Dan Lederman, and the majority of voters in the “strongest economy” and “freeist” environment in who knows where? Does anyone know where your Governor is describing? Certainly not in the America we all live in. Some misleading and imaginary place invented by Ian Fury, I guess.
    – It also doesn’t matter what happens in Pierre, South Dakota. It matters what happens in Washington, DC and SD Democrats have a seat at the table of the most powerful political party in the world.
    – South Dakota Republicans have only the tatters and decline of their party by Trumpster the Dumpster. #OUCH!
    – Congratulations on another successful election cycle, South Dakota Democrats. Take a bow!

  25. All Mammal 2022-11-13 15:13

    Jake- that is one thing that is galling as heck, huh? As my uncle sports a trump cap on his dome, he brags how he has never ever made as much on a calf sale in his whole life. Then doesn’t want to pay for his gummies. He doesn’t even wonder why I shake my head and laugh.

  26. Mark Anderson 2022-11-13 17:59

    Come on South Dakota is the free dumb state. It’s run by Kristallnoem, what can you expect? Florida is run by Ron DeSanctimonious according to the manhattanite con man. We’re no better off. Ron and Kristi run on freedom as they close it off for as many as they can.

  27. grudznick 2022-11-13 18:51

    The Freedom Caucuses will likely get their hats handed to them during the sessions, and have to do their caucusings in some broom closet on the first floor. Freedom Caucuses, BAH.

  28. leslie 2022-11-14 03:03

    looking forward to a few Dems here summarizing the positives of this election and the dangers awaiting us folks of good conscience who voted, making it possible to continue halting androcentric climate change and sheit-canning the billionaire’s global takeover that the GOP water-carries.

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