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AARP poll finds majority support for Medicaid expansion

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Karen Pike
Vermont Department of Health

A poll from AARP South Dakota shows a majority of state registered voters support expanding Medicaid.

Two organizations are racing to place an expansion question on next year’s ballot.

The poll reached out to 1,000 registered voters 50 and older.

Erik Gaikowski is the state director for AARP South Dakota. That group is affiliated with South Dakotans Decide Healthcare, which is circulating petitions to place Medicaid expansion on the ballot next year.

He says 65 percent of poll respondents said they were either extremely likely or very likely to vote in favor of expanding Medicaid.

“Overall, we’re just extremely pleased with the results,” Gaikowski said. “It confirms the need to implement Medicaid expansion in South Dakota.”

Gaikowski said the group will release the full poll results later this year.

Medicaid is a federal-state health insurance program for people with low incomes.

According to a Legislative Research Council memo, Medicaid expansion would cover an additional 42,500 South Dakotans. The state's cost share would be $20.8 million, which is less than 7 percent of the cost of expansion. The federal government would cover the rest.