There’s good news and bad news.
The good news is that the federal government is offering South Dakota $280 million annually to benefit hospitals and clinics throughout the state if our Legislature will vote to expand Medicaid.
The condition is that our state contribute $1 for each $15 in federal dollars received. Any financial advisor will tell you it’s crazy to pass up such an excellent investment option. You can call that $1 a tax or an investment, but by any name it benefits every community in the state. These dollars pay hospitals and clinics and immediately are spent in grocery stores, hardware stores, dealerships, every business up and down Main Street, benefiting the whole community. Plus, strengthening two of the well-paying groups in each city and town, hospitals and clinics.
Now the bad news. Our Llegislature has voted year after year to refuse Medicaid expansion, thereby missing out on those millions of dollars, thereby weakening our healthcare institutions and by extension, whole communities across the state. That $1 must be too high a price to pay for the $15 being offered.
Republican and Democrat administrations alike are urging us to expand Medicaid. And looking around we see North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska all with Medicaid expansion, all benefiting from those federal dollars designed to strengthen their healthcare facilities and by extension whole communities. Three Republican states, all in our neighborhood, all with Medicaid expansion. And here we sit, being left out, watching our healthcare systems, especially in smaller communities, inching backward and many closing their doors. Bad news indeed. This does not have to be.
Contact your elected officials, state and federal, urging them to vote to expand Medicaid for the benefit of us all.