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Gov. Daugaard Says Medicaid Document From Federal Government Is Imminent


Governor Dennis Daugaard says he’s waiting for a document from the federal government before he’s able to move forward with Medicaid expansion. He says the State Health Officer Letter containing the formal decision about policy changes is imminent. He’ll have to decide if it’s too late in the session to have the discussion.


Governor Dennis Daugaard says he’s increasingly optimistic that federal policy changes will allow for the expansion of Medicaid without spending general funds. He says he can’t go before the legislature without the State Health Officer Letter. Once that arrives, he says he’ll evaluate whether or not lawmakers are willing to study the numbers and be satisfied that expansion is doable.

The House of Representatives sent the message this week that they want to see the Medicaid discussion outside the general appropriations bill. Representative Brian Gosch supports House Bill 1234, which requires legislative approval before adopting Medicaid changes.
“So you could have a separate policy discussion on expansion, separate from all the things that are tied into the general bill,” Gosch says. “All the different funding aspects of state government, the departments, and Medicaid providers and courts and all the things like that.”
But Governor Daugaard says it’s important to keep the conversation inside the context of the general bill.
“When you pull it out and just say, philosophically, should this be funded or not, it divorces it from the necessary balancing that you have to do against other demands against limited revenues,” Daugaard says. “You’ve got a fixed amount of revenue. If you want to spend more here, then you have to spend less there. So all those things I think are appropriately debated within the context of the general bill. And so to separate them out I think is procedurally wasteful.”
Daugaard says House Bill 1234 stacks rules on top of each other. Republican leaders say it’s important to have a separate policy discussion. But all of this hinges on a green light from the feds.