The Republican Legislature may be determined to gum up Medicaid expansion with House Joint Resolution 5004, which would ask voters to add a work requirement to the policy they approved last November, but for the moment, they’re setting out their bucket to catch all the federal cash that will come raining in to cover health care for tens of thousands of South Dakotans.
Senate Bill 149 creates a Medicaid expansion fund to hold an initial sum of $53,694,084, to be received by June 30, 2024 from the 5% increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage that we will get from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan thanks to our having the good sense to finally expand Medicaid. Republicans refused to create this special fund last year when they still had hopes of defeating Medicaid expansion at the polls. Now they have to acknowledge one of the key selling points of Medicaid expansion: the voters’ sensible passage of Amendment D last year will bring beaucoup federal bucks into our state, stimulating the economy and making workers healthier for years to come.
Seven sour-grapes Republicans still couldn’t bring themselves to sign their names to this smart Obamacare program in Wednesday’s Senate vote on SB 149. SDGOP chairman Senator John Wiik (R-4/Big Stone City) led a small contingent of cons closing their eyes to the better future South Dakotans are making for themselves through the Affordable Care Act. They were outnumbered 4 to 1 by Senators voting for this necessary fiscal bucket.
SB 149’s next stop is House Appropriations.