SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO AM) - To expand Medicaid in South Dakota would make life easier for the elderly and low income families. The questions of where the money will come from and the lack of rural doctors are questions to be answered.
“A key task force was brought together by Governor Daugaard to study the advantages and disadvantages of expanding Medicaid in South Dakota,” said Deb Bowman, Senior Advisor to Governor Dennis Daugaard. “It was mandated by the Supreme Court that the Federal Government couldn’t mandate state Medicaid expansion. During this past legislative session Gov. Daugaard recommended that we not expand Medicaid.”
Bowman said that Gov. Daugaard wants the committee to lay out the pros and cons of Medicaid expansion. The task at hand is to study all of them and to file a report in the middle of September. So far the biggest fear by the people is the cost or Medicaid expansion.
“The Federal Government will pay 100 percent the first three years and then it will decrease after that,” said Bowman. Primarily, we cover children elderly and disabled with very few adults on the program. The 48 thousand who will be added to the program will be adults between ages 18 – 64 and many will be lower income.”
Bowman said it comes down to the moral dilemma of do we leave the poorest of the poor uninsured in S.D. concerning the fiscal implications in the state. There are also those who are concerned with government run health care. There is a concern that Medicaid is taking a gradual larger portion of the state budget every year and do we continue to contribute to the federal deficit.
“Another concern is a lack of qualified medical people to cover the rural areas of S.D.,” said Bowman. “The Governor had a task force last summer that I participated in and we have a number of incentives in place to address those issues, but those take time. The health systems in place at this time feel they can meet the need and that is a debate we are still having.”
Bowman said that if people want to know what is going on, they can go to Gov. Daugaard’s web page. We have posted all of the testimony that we recorded at the meetings and people can write us with their concerns.
Deb Bowman was interviewed on the Greg Belfrage Show June 27, 2013.