S.D. Governor Will Not Go Forward Now with Medicaid Expansion

Despite pushing the federal government to provide 100 percent of the cost for health care for American Indians, what South Dakota Gov. Daugaard has characterized as a longstanding treaty obligation, on Feb. 29 Daugaard ruled out Medicaid expansion during this legislative session.

Daugaard said with just two weeks remaining in the session there was not time to take up Medicaid expansion. He said he would not go forward without approval from the legislature and the state’s tribes.

The Argus Leader reported that Daugaard said he hoped not to have to wait for the 2017 legislative session. "I think it may take less time than that," he said. A special session could be called later in the year.

The savings to the state from the new federal policy on health care for American Indians, announced in a letter to states on Feb. 26, 2016, had been proposed to cover the cost of Medicaid expansion. About 50,000 South Dakotans would be newly eligible for Medicaid under the expanded eligibility allowed by the Affordable Care Act.