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Daugaard Will Not Call Special Session Of State Legislature For Medicaid Expansion


Governor Dennis Daugaard says he won’t call a special session of the state legislature to vote on Medicaid expansion.  

Daugaard says he has a plan that would not cost the state additional money, and guarantees the federal government will pay for Native American healthcare.

Daugaard says several legislators requested more time to study his plan for Medicaid expansion. His plan would expand coverage to 50,000 South Dakotans between the ages of 18 and 65.  

Representative Jim Bolin says there wasn’t enough support in the House to approve the governor’s plan.

“I’m quite confident that there were at least 40 members of the House of Representatives who were, either in my category, a major skeptic of the plan, or very much opposed to it. I just don’t believe the federal government can maintain these programs like this on an indefinite basis,” Bolin says.

Credit sdlegislature.gov
Representative Jim Bolin

Bolin, a Republican from Canton, says he expects the issue to come up during the next legislative session.   However, a Democratic Senate minority leader says the measure would have passed the Senate with a simple majority.   Billie Sutton, of Burke, says the governor’s plan employed protections in case federal funding dried up.

“The governor’s plan proposed a circuit breaker, meaning that if the federal government didn’t come through on its promise for Medicaid expansion and the money that they would provide, which, by 2020 that would be a 90 to 10 split, so 90 percent from the federal government and 10 percent from the state, that we would remove ourselves from Medicaid expansion. Other states have put a circuit breaker in place, and we would do the same thing,” Sutton says.

Credit sdlegislature.gov
Senator Billie Sutton

Sutton says the measure makes sense to pass, and that’s why a Republican governor has been floating the idea.  In a press release, Governor Daugaard says he wants to wait to consider the issue after the presidential election.