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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

State Unlikely to Receive Medicaid Waiver Under ACA

It’s unlikely the federal government is going to grant South Dakota’s request to only partly expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

In January Governor Dennis Daugaard asked for flexibility to expand up to 100 percent of the poverty level, instead of to 138 percent. Tony Venhuizen with the Governor’s Office says the federal government hasn't officially denied the request. He says South Dakota leaders spoke with some officials in the federal Department of Health who indicated the Secretary won’t approve the proposal.

“Over the last year we’ve seen the feds waiving provisions of the health care law, changing deadlines, and delaying implementation in a variety of ways, so it’s hard to understand why on this point they’re not able to offer a waiver, especially when, under the federal law, people at 100 percent of poverty or above are eligible for subsidized insurance coverage through the exchange. It seems like a very reasonable way to offer flexibility to states, but for whatever reason, the feds aren’t willing to entertain it at this time apparently,” Venhuizen says.
Venhuizen says if South Dakota doesn't get the waiver, legislators don't have many options as the session winds down. He says discussions about health care expansion are ongoing.