|Daugaard Pushing Expansion|
He Made A Case, Now He Has To Push It
(photo from argusleader.com)
As the federal government has agreed to do just that, the holy grail of "budget neutrality" has been found. Daugaard's long-famous disinclination to expand Medicaid has lost its sole support, so from the Governor's point of view, all systems should be "go." But as he meekishly explained to KSFY, it still depends on whether the state's Republican-dominated legislature will go along with the plan. Governor Daugaard apparently hasn't got the rhetorical or logical wherewithal to make it clear to the legislature that this plan is a good deal for South Dakota. Telling KSFY that he'll call a special session of the legislature if the plan "appears politically viable," it seems clear that Daugaard's fixation on the partisan challenges have diminished the power of principle that should be driving his commitment to expansion.
That Medicaid expansion is a good deal for South Dakota has been self-evident for several years. The arithmetic is simple enough: In exchange for spending less than $200 million through 2022, South Dakota gets slightly over $2 billion in Medicaid payments to about 50,000 newly eligible enrollees. The numbers haven't been lost on several Republican governors (Kasich, Christie, Pence and ND's Dalrymple) who've figured out that the practical pluses outweigh the political minuses on a plan as good as this one.
As to the people themselves, a January 2016 poll by Public Opinion Strategies found strong support for Medicaid expansion in all quarters of South Dakota. The poll (Project #16035) came up with some eye-popping numbers, with support ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-80s around 5
|It's A Done Deal Up North|
What Are We Waiting For?
(photo from healthinsurance.org)
In the meantime, there's the practical reality of how this will affect South Dakotans to consider. The Governor himself made the case for compassion last Winter when he noted that "we have to remember the single parent with three children. Between work and child care, a parent in that situation sometimes can't work enough hours to get insurance." Daugaard gets it. I just wish he would convert his compassion and common sense into a compelling enough case to override his political misgivings and lay them on the legislature.